Bath eager to retain Shontayne Hape
Sir Ian McGeechan has underlined Bath's desire to keep England centre Shontayne Hape at the Recreation Ground next season.
Former rugby league star Hape, who won his seventh cap in England's RBS 6 Nations victory over Wales last week, is a rumoured target for London Irish and Wasps.
But Bath rugby director McGeechan is hopeful that New Zealand-born Hape will remain in the west country.
"Talks are just going on," he said.
"We want to keep him, and it's just a matter of, hopefully, coming to the right conclusion. I have a lot of time for Shontayne, and he knows that."
Of more immediate concern to McGeechan and his coaching staff is tomorrow night's resumption of Aviva Premiership business after a five-week break.
Eighth-placed Bath head to Edgeley Park for an appointment with Sale Sharks, who are two two places and seven points below them.
Bath have won five out of their six games in all competitions so far this year, and now face a run of Premiership fixtures that will see them take on Sale, Northampton, Exeter and Gloucester.
McGeechan added: "The next four Premiership games now are very important to our season.
"We've built up a bit of momentum since Christmas. but if we are not right with our game, we will not win (against Sale).
"They've had some big wins up there against significant opposition. They are a force there, and always have been.
"The (LV= Cup) victory at Welford Road last week was a good confidence-builder against a mixed Leicester side. The players are in good spirits, and we've had a good few weeks in training.
"You try and build on what is there, and when you feel good about what you are doing and how you are doing it, that adds to the feeling of training and means there is a good atmosphere going into the game."
Bath will head north without their England trio of Hape, Matt Banahan and David Wilson, but South Africans Butch James, Michael Claassens and Luke Watson all start, as does Scotland international back-row forward Simon Taylor.
Sale are also hit by Test absentees - wing Mark Cueto and prop Andrew Sheridan - while their Wales scrum-half Dwayne Peel is nursing a sore hip as they look to bounce back from a hefty LV= Cup defeat against Saracens last time out.
Sharks head coach Pete Anglesea said: "This is a big game that we are looking forward to.
"We have addressed the way we played at Saracens, and we are looking to return to the way we were playing at the start of the year."
Arsenal and Puma unveil world's first left-footed football
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?
Liverpool's best XI of the season so far: Raheem Sterling should play in the front three while Steven Gerrard remains on the bench
WWE Raw results: Brock Lesnar suspended for post-Wrestlemania 31 rampage after losing title to Seth Rollins
Liverpool injury news: Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren expected to be ready for Arsenal clash
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 3 Google April Fools': company unveils backwards search engine and huggable digital assistant
- 4 April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans