Vesty has chance to shine as Bath wait for Donald

London Irish v Bath

So, for the second time in eight years, the Premiership has a World Cup-clinching fly-half.

Or it soon will have. Stephen Donald (right) is a Bath player but the men from The Rec will have to wait until the start of the Heineken Cup to get the man who ended 24 years of All Black hurt into the blue, black and white No 10 shirt.

In the meantime, Sam Vesty continues at outside half – a young man with a World Cup pedigree of sorts. In his youth as a wicketkeeper for Leicestershire Seconds, the sometime England midfielder stumped Mohammad Azharuddin when India visited Grace Road for a warm-up game for the 1999 Cricket World Cup.

Bath, who shot out of the traps with an assured win up at Newcastle on the opening day of the season, have not won on the road since – slipping up at Gloucester and Wasps. Sir Ian McGeechan's men have captain Stuart Hooper back in the second row and Matt Banahan lining up at inside centre for what promises to be an intriguing duel with a more than familiar face.

Shontayne Hape – late of The Rec parish and, like Banahan, an England squad man in New Zealand – will be making his debut for Irish. "It's refreshing to come back into a new environment," he said.

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