Sam Vesty already in bother with new Bath bosses – World of rugby

Vesty already in bother with Bath's new bosses



22:00 GMT, 26 April 2012

Gary Gold and Mike Ford will be put in charge of engineering a revival at Bath from next season – a prospect which might just cause a sense of trepidation for one of the West Country club's players.

In the circumstances, Sam Vesty may view the impending, yet-to-be-confirmed management changes at The Rec with something approaching panic.

After all, the former Leicester back is not especially popular right now with the two men who will take control of Bath this summer.

Big job: Newcastle head coach Gary Gold (centre) is set to take over at Bath

Big job: Newcastle head coach Gary Gold (centre) is set to take over at Bath

At present Gold, the former Springbok coach, and Ford, the long-time England defence guru, are engaged in a desperate struggle to keep Newcastle in the Aviva Premiership.

Their prospects of doing so were undermined by Wasps' ability to cling on for a losing bonus point at Bath last week. Dai Young's side were able to secure that precious point because Vesty squandered a late try-scoring chance with a premature celebration.

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Having been put clear near the line, he raised an arm in triumph only for Tom Varndell to capitalise and execute a sensational cover tackle which prevented the ball being grounded and earned Wasps their vital consolation.

Vesty is a diligent professional who has been left devastated by an episode with such far-reaching consequences, as he admitted this week, saying: 'I don't think I have ever felt as embarrassed on a rugby field as I was last weekend. I was absolutely mortified and I apologised to my team-mates as soon as we got back in the changing room.

'I have never felt like such an idiot and I have had plenty of stick for it since. Showboating is not in my repertoire, but I just lost myself for a moment and have paid the price.'

He's not alone in paying a price, as his rash conduct could have a major say in the outcome of the two-way tussle to avoid relegation if – as is feasible – Newcastle go down on points difference.

When Gold and Ford arrive in Bath, Vesty must hope they don't bear grudges. But in all seriousness, they have had a noticeable impact in a short time on Tyneside, so there is a good chance they can work wonders with added support from Bruce Craig's fortune and a large fan base.

Meanwhile, Gold's other interim assistant at the Falcons, former England forwards coach John Wells, is poised to agree a three-year contract to stay at Kingston Park, to work with his old Leicester team-mate, Dean Richards.

Jersey sure have potential

The story of Jersey's rise is entering fairytale territory, following their win over Coventry last weekend which secured promotion to the Championship.

It is the fourth time in five seasons that the Channel Islands side have moved up a division, having been down in London South West Division Three as recently as 2005.

Jersey have already produced a player, Matt Banahan, who has made his mark in the Aviva Premiership; now the whole club should be aiming similarly high.

Jersey have remarkable potential.

Jersey old boy: Matt Banahan (tackling) hails from the Channel Island

Jersey old boy: Matt Banahan (tackling) hails from the Channel Island

Crowds fall in for a major battle

The biggest sporting crowd in the country this weekend is expected at Twickenham on Saturday for the Babcock Trophy showdown between the Army and Royal Navy.

Rugby has a proud tradition of supporting the armed forces, but the servicemen invited on to the field at HQ are usually in uniform, in a ceremonial role, whereas this time they will be in kit for what is typically a fiery annual fixture.

On this occasion, officials are anticipating 65,000 supporters to witness the battle at close quarters.

Remember me

There will be personal agendas at stake in Bordeaux on Sunday when Heineken Cup holders Leinster face French heavyweights Clermont Auvergne in the semi-final of this year's tournament.

First of all, both coaches have admitted to nerves before they renew acquaintances. Joe Schmidt, now in charge of the Irish province, was Vern Cotter's deputy at Clermont when they ended their painful wait to claim the Top 14 title in 2010, and the New Zealanders had previously worked together at Bay of Plenty.

Point to prove: Clermont Auvergne second row Nathan Hines (right)

Point to prove: Clermont Auvergne second row Nathan Hines (right)

Then there's former Scotland lock Nathan Hines, who helped Leinster to European glory last season and is now hoping to excel for Clermont against his former team-mates, as another giant step towards being involved in back-to-back title triumphs.

The last word

From a distance, it would appear South Africa are in a bit of a state ahead of England's visit for a three-Test series in June.

New coach Heyneke Meyer, briefly of Leicester, has asked lock and talisman Victor Matfield to come out of retirement as an emergency captain, amid an injury crisis.

Schalk Burger is unlikely to be fit, while his fellow back-rower Juan Smith has been out of action for almost a year.

Former skipper John Smit and Bakkies Botha have stepped down in favour of stints in Europe, with Saracens and Toulon respectively, while the current leading second row, Andries Bekker, is another injury doubt.

On the face of it, the Springboks, so renowned for their forward might, appear vulnerable, there for the taking even.

Stuart Lancaster will not be fooled and rightly so. Come June 9, Meyer will surely amass a fearsome pack to unleash on England, whether Matfield agrees to return or not.