Bath might be heading to Madejski Stadium to take on a London Irish side looking to avoid writing their name in Aviva Premiership history books for all the wrong reasons this weekend, but Ben Skirving insists they are taking nothing for granted.
While Gary Gold has enjoyed a fine start to life in the Aviva Premiership, leading Bath to two opening victories before losing their 100 per cent record last time out against Northampton Saints, it is a different story for Brian Smith at London Irish.
The Exiles have lost their first three matches of the season, conceding at least 40 points each time – no side in Premiership history has ever done so in four successive matches.
And things don’t look like improving for Smith and co as London Irish have won just one of their last ten clashes with Bath, a 16-0 victory back in November 2009, and have won just one of their last five home games.
But Skirving isn’t reading too much into the past, adamant that London Irish will come out fighting and that Bath need to prepare themselves for a backlash.
“We’re expecting a very physical game at Irish,” said Skirving, who was part of a Bath team that left Madejski Stadium with a 13-12 victory last season, one of three away grounds they triumphed on.
“They’re a good side and dangerous in the backline. It’s going to be a physical test without a doubt.
“It’s still quite early doors in terms of the season so the results they’ve picked up don’t have too much bearing.
“They’ve been playing quite well for the past three games, they’ve just not had the right results. It’s going to be a difficult trip.”
London Irish’s home woes are not lost on Smith’s men, none more so than Tom Homer who has started all three of the Exiles’ games so far this Aviva Premiership season.
And the full-back has issued a rallying cry to his team-mates to turn their fortunes around sooner rather than later.
“We believe we can still be a top four team but if you want to achieve that then you need to win the majority of your home games,” Homer said.
“The Bath game is a massive game and a massive challenge for us but hopefully we can come out firing and finally get that win.
“Bath are always going to play an attacking brand of rugby and have a pretty good set piece but we have done our homework and hopefully we can pick up that victory and really get our season going.”
Referee: JP Doyle (46th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Pearce, Kevin Stewart