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Bath ponder future away from The Rec
Scrum.com
January 8, 2010
Bath's Recreation Ground is blanketed by snow, January 6, 2010
Bath's current Recreation Ground home has fallen victim to the cold snap that has engulfed the United Kingdom © Getty Images
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  • Bath chief executive Nick Blofeld has demanded a swift resolution to the club's long-running debate surrounding future stadium plans.

    The Premiership side's existing Recreation Ground home is considerably underpowered in terms of capacity, and can hold less than half the 24,000 maximum crowd of their long-standing Premiership rivals Leicester, for instance. Whether Bath remain at an expanded Rec, or move elsewhere, is at the heart of the debate about their future playing facilities. The west country club feel a stadium with capacity far closer to 20,000 is desirable.

    "We must now progress the process as quickly as practically possible to secure the future of Bath Rugby in the heart of Bath for the benefit of the club and its loyal supporters," said Blofeld. "The challenge has always been to secure an alternative site in the heart of the city. The club are actively looking for alternative locations within the city and, as part of this, are exploring as one possibility part of the greater Western Riverside site.

    "We are grateful for the way in which the (Bath and North East Somerset) Council and the Recreation Ground Trust have conducted discussions with a view to finding an acceptable way forward on the Rec, and that they will be working closely with us as we move forward."

    Bath want to keep and extend its lease on the Rec, and formal proposals to that end could be submitted to the Charity Commission within weeks. Any possible move to a new site though, would be unlikely to happen for some time.

  • Western Force skipper Nathan Sharpe is hoping to return to action against the Sharks in a trial game in Cape Town on January 23. Sharpe sat out Australia's November Tests after undergoing shoulder surgery but has enjoyed a good pre-season.

    The lock also signalled a potential change in tactics for the Force given the move away from the ELVs and their new recruits, including former Springbok fly-half Andre Pretorius.

    "Over the past four years we have adapted a certain playing style because of personnel," he said. "But now we have a completely new team, you have to play to your strengths and this year you might see a different style from the Western Force.

    "Keep in mind the law changes will make rugby a little bit different than it was. It's not the ELVs , we're back to full arm penalties which will make it more of a set piece contest, and a lot more emphasis on field position and territory. Things will change a little bit, but the way we have recruited suits that really well."

  • Former Bath centre Alex Crockett has begun training with Championship side Bristol as he prepares to make his return from a nine-month ban for failing to take two drugs tests. Crockett is eligible to play on March 1, having been banned in August along with fellow Bath players Michael Lipman and Andrew Higgins.

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