Rugby Union: Bath's `tough' task

BATH FACE a major task after being drawn away to Newcastle in the fourth round of the Tetley's Bitter Cup. Bath have lost their last three league games against Rob Andrew's men, including a 19-17 reversal at the Gateshead International Stadium in September.

The Falcons recently moved back to Kingston Park, their former home, although the pros-pect of live television coverage and a bumper attendance could see Gateshead favoured.

Andy Robinson, the Bath coach, described the prospect of visiting Falcons as "very tough".

"To lift the cup you have to beat all the best sides, and that often means winning difficult ties away from home," Robinson said.

Worcester, the Premiership Two title challengers, will be assured of a warm welcome just down the M5 at Kingsholm, where Gloucester await.

Bruce Fenley, the Worcester captain and scrum-half, is a former Gloucester player together with the wing Paul Holford and other squad members Simon Morris and Tim Smith.

"It's a very interesting tie," said Richard Hill, Gloucester's rugby director. "With all the former Gloucester players now with Worcester, it should be a cracking occasion."

Sale will aim to make use of ground advantage against Northampton after the Saints' 37-17 home league victory.

The holders, Saracens, go to Yorkshire to take on Morley, the Jewson National League One side who are struggling just above the relegation area.

Sedgley Park's reward for beating Premiership Two Blackheath is a home tie against Wasps.


FOURTH ROUND: Waterloo v Orrell; Nottingham v Exeter; Bedford v Henley; Barking v Leicester; Kendal v London Scottish; Rotherham v Leeds; Sedgley Park v Wasps; Gloucester v Worcester; Bristol v London Irish; Sale v Northampton; Harlequins v Esher; Morley v Saracens; West Hartlepool v Bracknell; Newcastle v Bath; Richmond v Newbury; Moseley v Lydney.

Ties to be played on weekend of 9th/10th January 1999.