RUGBY UNION: Guscott eases into top gear

Bath 55 Orrell 20
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The Independent Online
Pity Phil de Glanville. As captain of Bath he has to motivate and help his men. He wants them to be at their best. But as an aspiring England centre he needs one of his club colleagues, Jeremy Guscott, or Will Carling to hit a bad patch. Neither is currently obliging.

Indeed, Guscott looks to be well on the way back to his brilliant best after struggling to regain his form after a year out injured. His try, which brought a deafening roar of approval, and the one he set up, proved that he has regained the pace, vision and elusiveness that were his hallmarks.

His defensive qualities have never been in doubt, witness the tackles he pulled off to stop Orrell's hopefuls in their tracks. But he takes nothing for granted. "I enjoyed myself," he said. "I'm looking to be at my peak in readiness for South Africa next month."

De Glanville, who has 13 caps, four of those as a replacement, could only smile wryly. "Jerry's potential has not been realised for a while," he said. "We are just trying to coax it out of him." He seems to have succeeded and it looks as if De Glanville will have to wait a little longer before assuming the mantle. "It's been frustrating," he admitted, "but after two years I've got used to it."

The fanatical supporters have grown used to success and they greeted all eight of Bath's tries exuberantly. Jon Callard scored two of them, joining the line at pace each time, and his six conversions and solitary penalty - Bath were awarded just two in the match, one of which they ran - underlined his all-round abilities and value.

While the Bath backs were sharp the pack was once again awesome, particularly in the loose. They set up a bewildering number of phases in the build- up to Callard's opening try, and Orrell, who defended courageously throughout, were thoroughly bemused at the end.

They were not hopelessly outclassed, as their two tries illustrated, but they were generally outplayed by a team that dearly wants to regain the Courage crown which they had almost made theirs until last year. Bath are hungry and nothing but success will satisfy them.

Bath: Tries Adebayo 2, Callard 2, Guscott, Ubogu, De Glanville, Catt; Conversions Callard 6; Penalty Callard. Orrell: Tries Scott, Johnson; Conversions Mason 2; Penalties Mason 2.

Bath: J Callard; A Lumsden, P de Glanville (capt), J Guscott, A Adebayo; M Catt, A Nicol; K Yates, G Dawe, V Ubogu, M Haag, N Redman, A Robinson, S Ojomoh, B Clarke.

Orrell: S Mason; J Naylor, I Wynn, P Johnson (capt), G Smith; P Hamer, A Healey; P Winstanley, M Scott, J Cundick, C Cusani (H Parr 2-14, Parr, 51), M Glynn, J Huxley, P Manley, S Bibby.

Referee: A Rowden (Thatcham).