Davis encouraged by Bath Rugby’s youngsters after Premiership Rugby 7s showing
Bath Rugby Academy coach Ryan Davis believes the future is bright for the club after blooding a host of talented up-and-coming youngsters in this year’s Premiership Rugby 7s.
The Blue, Black and Whites fielded first-team back Tom de Glanville and senior academy quartet Levi Davis, George Worboys, Ollie Fox and Max Ojomoh at Franklin’s Gardens.
They were also joined by seven guest players for the two-day ‘Olympic-style’ tournament, which saw Bath lose both of their Pool B games against Wasps and Leicester Tigers.
And while the West Country side showed their inexperience against Wasps, Davis insisted the competition provided a perfect opportunity to test the club’s strength in depth.
“With the World Cup going on and the Prem Cup coming up that’s the priority with our selection and you’ll see a lot of our academy players playing in the Cup in the next four weeks,” he said.
“This was a good time to bring back some players from injury and blood some of our younger academy players, but also mix it with some experience from outside.
“With the squad depleted at the moment and players being away, we had to make sure we have enough players to play the Prem Cup and Premiership games.
“Before we play Bristol we’ve got four games to try to get as many players game time as possible, but we need to work out who is going into that game (against Bristol) as our starting XV.
“It’s an exciting stage of the season and this is just another building block. Hopefully, next year, maybe we’ll have 12 academy players taking to the field in this.”
Last season’s finalists Wasps proved too good in Bath’s opening game as they ran in eight tries to prevail 50-5, with Nacanieli Kinikinilau grabbing the only consolation try.
But Bath improved drastically in their second game against Tigers, with Fox, Myles Bean and Fin Dewar all touching down in the narrow 24-19 defeat at the home of Northampton Saints.
Davis admitted Bath showed their naivety in the way they defended against Wasps – but he took plenty of encouragement from the way they learned from their mistakes in game two.
“The learning from the first game was we had to improve our defence, we said as soon as the ball is in the air we need to take space – but against Wasps we didn’t take space,” he said.
“They exploited that and for us that was a great opportunity for those boys to learn that we can actually flip it and learn from our mistakes, so I was happy with the second game especially.
“They’ve had about two weeks together, but it’s hard with players coming from jobs and obviously with academy players some are still going through university and there’s pre-season.
“You take all that away and we still had two or three quality sessions but you don’t know yourself until you play with someone so we can train as much as you like but it comes down to the game.”
Davis also reserved special praise for de Glanville – the son of legendary Bath and England centre Phil – who also lined-up for the club in last season’s Premiership Rugby 7s tournament.
“I was chuffed with Tom de Glanville, I thought he linked up well and took responsibility with the kicking and he was unlucky not to pip it at the end of the second game,” he said.
“We also had two older boys in Nacanieli Kinikinilau and Myles Bean who you could see as soon as you give them the ball in space they are dangerous, so I was happy with our academy players.”