Bath face prolonged wait for Donald
October 27, 2011
Donald kicked the winning penalty in Sunday's World Cup final © Getty Images
Bath Rugby will be forced to wait longer than expected for World Cup winner Stephen Donald to arrive in the West Country after his heroics in Sunday's final.
The 27-year-old kicked the winning penalty to bring an end to 24 years of hurt for the All Blacks, but his pivotal role means he will remain part of the World Cup celebrations as the New Zealand side tour the country, before arriving at the Recreation Ground in time for the start of Bath's Heineken Cup campaign.
In Donald's absence, Sam Vesty and youngster Tom Heathcote have shared the fly-half reins and first-team coach Brad Davis is looking forward to the prospect of having three options to choose from at half-back. And ahead of Donald's arrival, Davis paid tribute to the World Cup winner.
"Stephen's performance in the World Cup final displayed all the attributes which originally attracted us to him," Davis told the Bath Chronicle. "I'd take my comment from what the All Blacks' coach Graham Henry said after the game, 'Didn't he do well, Stephen Donald'. He stepped up to the mark for the penalty he kicked - he wanted to take responsibility.
"He carried strongly when he had no other options and he kicked for the corners well. Stephen gave a really assured performance - and that's off the back of four weeks' fishing!
"We were really pleased for Stephen personally and are looking forward to having him on board to pass on his knowledge of what he has experienced in the southern hemisphere.
"I think he will be a massive signing for us, both on the field and off it. We're replacing one World Cup-winning fly-half [Butch James] with another."
The news comes as Bath revealed they will have to wait on another of their new signings with rugby league convert Kyle Eastmond still struggling with an injury.
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