Bath 18-9 Saracens: Rhys Priestland kicks six penalties as they stun Gallagher Premiership leaders at the Recreation Ground

8 Mar

Fly-half Rhys Priestland kicked six penalties as Bath finally managed to held on to a lead to topple second-placed Saracens 18-9 in the Gallagher Premiership.

The champions were missing their England contingent, but it was their ill-discipline which let them down on a wet night at the Recreation Ground, as well as a patchy goal-kicking display by Alex Lozowski.

Rhys Priestland was clinical from the tee for Bath

The result resurrected Bath’s hopes of a top-six finish after last-minute defeats in their last two games.

Priestland opened the scoring after five minutes after a Zach Mercer offload to Elliott Stooke got Bath behind the visitors’ defence and Saracens gave away a penalty under their posts.

Lozowski hooked a fairly straightforward kick at the other end soon after, but quickly made amends with an 11th-minute strike from 40 metres.

In steady rain, there were many more rucks than line-breaks and Saracens began to build pressure ominously with their driving play until Nathan Catt ripped the ball free on his own 22. The Bath loosehead was as busy as anyone in defence, helping to hold the Saracens runners on the gain-line.

British and Irish Lion Jonathon Joseph on the ball for the hosts

When presented with a kickable penalty at the other end, Priestland opted for a kick to touch. Stooke’s take was clean enough and the visitors infringed again at the breakdown. Priestland made the score 6-3 from close range.

With full-back Tom Homer, solid under the high ball despite the conditions, Bath began to play more expansively, although Priestland hit the post with another penalty attempt on the half-hour.

Surprisingly, it was the visitors’ handling skills that were suspect. Will Skelton spilled the ball in a tackle just inside the Bath 22 and Alex Goode dropped a simple pass from his scrum-half Ben Spencer.

Bath began to get the upper hand in the scrum and Priestland kicked a third penalty to earn a 9-3 half-time lead.

Alex Lozowski lacked accuracy with the boot

However, the Saracens front row turned the tables immediately after the break, earning a penalty that Lozowski landed from 30 metres.

Presented with another straightforward kick, Lozowski hooked it wide, but Priestland’s 22 drop-out was charged down by Skelton. Bath won the scrum, but Lozowski brought the scores level.

As the rain cleared away, Bath struggled at first to match the visitors’ intensity, but clawed their way back upfield on the back of their opponents’ indiscipline. Finally, replacement back row Ben Earl was sent to the bin just after the hour and Priestland booted Bath back in front.

But their discipline began to fray too, and a needless block off the ball by replacement hooker Ross Batty saw the home side reduced to 14 men for the last 10 minutes.

Lozowski was wide again with the kick, but Priestland made no mistake when presented with a difficult chance at the other end to put Bath 15-9 ahead after 75 minutes.

The Welsh fly-half put the result beyond doubt with his sixth penalty two minutes from time.

Sam Underhill injury: England flanker to seek specialist advice after damaging ankle ligament

2 Jan

Battling to a 23-16 victory, Sunday’s result took Bath up to fifth in the Premiership, but the win against Leicester came at a cost.

The club later confirmed on their official website the extent of the injuries.

“Bath Rugby can confirm that Matt Garvey and Sam Underhill are going to be out of action following injuries sustained in the win against Leicester Tigers on Sunday.

“Garvey suffered a fracture to his ankle and is expected to need surgery, which will keep him out for around three months.

“Underhill sustained ligament damage to his ankle and further detail around his expected return will be provided after his specialist review.”

Underhill is likely to miss England’s Six Nations campaign as a result of ankle ligament damage

Typically, the extent of Underhill’s injury could rule him out for up to six weeks meaning he would miss this years Six Nations tournament, which begins for England with a trip to defending champions Ireland on the 2 February.

The 22-year old was part of England’s 2018 Six Nations squad and also featured in three autumn fixtures for the national side.

He has a total of nine caps for England and joins fellow Bath player Joe Cokanasiga, in the treatment room.

The England winger is recovering from a medial knee ligament injury, and is expected to return at the earliest mid-January, only two weeks before the start of the Six Nations.

Gallagher Premiership: Bath go fifth with narrow win over Leicester, Bristol beat Newcastle in bottom-of-the-table clash

30 Dec

There were just two games in the Gallagher Premiership but both were absolute thrillers.

Below you can see the best of the action from Bath vs Leicester Tigers and Bristol vs Newcastle Falcons.

Bath 23-16 Leicester Tigers

Determined Bath climbed back into fifth place by beating Leicester 23-16 in the Gallagher Premiership.

Tries from Jamie Roberts, Mike Catt and Ruaridh McConnochie gave the home side enough of a platform to see off a Tigers comeback which earned a losing bonus point.

It was a tight game at the Recreation Ground

Buoyed by the bonus-point win over Harlequins that ended a run of seven defeats, Leicester took the lead after just two minutes as Jonny May latched on to a grubber kick by England team-mate George Ford, who also landed the conversion.

Bath responded with a sustained attack which earned a succession of penalties and a hard look from the TMO, but no try. Leicester had some respite when Ellis Genge won a scrum free-kick on his own line.

There was no let-up though and Francois Louw thought he had scored against the post on 19 minutes, only to be denied again by the TMO. Referee J P Doyle had been playing advantage so Burns kicked the penalty.

As Bath were enjoying nearly 80 per cent of territory and possession, skipper Will Chudley was stripped of the ball on the goal-line by Manu Tuilagi. Tigers won the scrum but hooker Jake Kerr spilled a pass from the resulting ruck and this time the home side were not to be denied.

Steady scrum ball allowed Chudley to feed Roberts on the crash ball on 27 minutes and Burns converted for a 10-7 lead.

Five minutes later he chased down Jonah Holmes deep into the visitors’ 22 and Catt was driven over for a second unconverted try to establish a two-score lead at the break.

A fast and furious start to the second half saw England flanker Sam Underhill helped off with his foot heavily strapped as Leicester started to threaten, eventually earning a penalty kicked by Ford.

But Bath’s riposte was immediate as Louw again broke the defensive line and swift passing gave McConnochie just enough space to evade Genge and score in the corner.

That third unconverted try made the score 20-10 on 55 minutes but Leicester looked dangerous on the break as Ford continued to sniff out opportunities for his runners.

Ford twice brought the visitors into losing bonus-point range with two penalties while Rhys Priestland came off the bench to kick a goal from 45 metres for Bath.

Bristol 35-28 Newcastle Falcons

Bristol stormed back from a half-time deficit to pick up a valuable five Premiership points with a thrilling 35-28 victory against Newcastle at Ashton Gate.

Tom Pincus scored the match-winner three minutes from time with Bristol’s other tries coming from Charles Piutau, Luke Morahan and Harry Randall. Ian Madigan converted two and kicked two penalties with Callum Sheedy adding a penalty and a conversion.

The game went down to the wire at Ashton Gate

Newcastle’s tries came from Vereniki Goneva, Adam Radwan and Callum Chick with Toby Flood converting two and kicking three penalties.

Bristol made an explosive start to take the lead after only 75 seconds with a brilliant try. A neat handling move saw Morahan make the crucial break before Randall showed strength to fend off the cover defence and force his way over.

Madigan converted before Falcons responded with a sustained period of pressure. Stern defence from the hosts kept their try-line intact but Flood put his side on the scoreboard with a simple penalty.

However, the visitors maintained their territorial dominance for the remainder of the first quarter and were rewarded with their first try when their pack drove Goneva over.

Flood converted before he extended the lead with his second penalty after Bristol wing Pincus was penalised for not releasing.

Newcastle then lost two players simultaneously with both Micky Young and John Hardie leaving the field for injury assessments before they suffered a further setback when Madigan knocked over a penalty.

The injury disruption did not stop Falcons’ momentum as their pack possessed too much power for Bristol, illustrated by their second try. The lively George McGuigan burst away from a line-out giving Chick the easy task of picking up and driving over.

Just before the interval, error-ridden Bristol rose from their slumbers with a free-flowing 60-metre move with Piutau, Dan Thomas and Chris Vui all making telling contributions but they lacked the accuracy to finish, leaving the hosts trailing 20-10 at half-time.

Charles and Siale Piutau celebrate Bristol’s win

After the restart, Bristol continued their improvement to reduce the arrears when Madigan’s pass sent Piutau over.

The score galvanised Bristol, who regained the lead with their third try. Morahan secured a vital high ball to give his side a platform from which Harry Thacker sent Morahan sneaking over.

Madigan missed the touchline conversion but succeeded with a penalty to give transformed Bristol a 25-20 lead going into the final quarter.

Newcastle responded with their third try when Radwan won the race to touch down a well-judged kick from Flood for the wing to celebrate his 21st birthday in style.

Bristol immediately changed their half-backs with new fly-half Sheedy kicking a penalty. That was soon nullified by one from Flood, before a superb burst from Ed Holmes set up the winner for Pincus.

European Champions Cup: Two mistakes from Freddie Burns costs Bath game against Toulouse, Exeter and Munster play out tense draw plus more

13 Oct

The European Champions Cup is back for another season and it was certainly a day to remember.

Here is the best of Saturday’s action from the competition.

Bath 20-22 Toulouse

Freddie Burns was guilty of two late blunders as Toulouse continued English clubs’ painful start to the Heineken Champions Cup by claiming a 22-20 victory over Bath.

A visibly upset Burns is consoled after the game

Less than 24 hours after European title holders Leinster crushed Wasps under a half-century of points in Dublin, Toulouse clinched a crucial Pool One win at the Recreation Ground.

And they were helped by Bath full-back Burns, who missed an easy 74th minute penalty chance and then blew a try barely 60 seconds later after crossing the Toulouse line before losing control of the ball under pressure from Toulouse defender Maxime Medard.

Centre Sofiane Guitoune scored two tries for Toulouse, including a clincher 17 minutes from time, while wing Medard also touched down and full-back Thomas Ramos kicked two conversions and a penalty.

Exeter 10-10 Munster

Exeter’s European Champions Cup campaign got off to a disappointing start after they were held to a 10-10 draw in a titanic struggle at Sandy Park.

The Gallagher Premiership leaders were unable to get past Munster

Exeter had only lost once in their last 17 games but came perilously close to losing this one as Munster had the lion’s share of possession and territory.

Luke Cowan-Dickie scored Exeter’s only try with Gareth Steenson adding a penalty and a conversion.

CJ Stander scored for Munster with Joey Carbery kicking a penalty and a conversion.

Ulster 24-10 Leicester

Second-half tries from Alan O’Connor, Will Addison and Jacob Stockdale earned Ulster a 24-10 win over Leicester in their Heineken Champions Cup opener.

Ulster’s John Cooney kicked all three conversions and a penalty to complete the Irish province’s scoring in the Pool Four clash at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast.

Manu Tuilagi’s 75th-minute try came too little too late

The Tigers led at half-time thanks to a George Ford penalty but failed to score again until Manu Tuilagi’s 75th-minute converted try.

Montpellier 21-15 Edinburgh

Referee Wayne Barnes ruled out two tries for Edinburgh as they fell just short of a famous Champions Cup victory over Montpellier on French soil.

Montpellier, coached by the former Scottish national coach Vern Cotter, scored three first half tries on the way to a 21-15 victory, but it was Richard Cockerill’s Edinburgh who dominated the final 40 minutes.

Edinburgh crossed for a try in each half and would have won the game if Barnes not ruled out a Hamish Watson try at the posts for offside and another by Magnus Bradbury for obstruction.

It was a brave effort from Edinburgh

In the end they had to settle for a losing bonus-point, although they had to scramble to keep hold of it after home skipper Louis Picamoles intercepted 30 metres out and almost reached the line for what would have been an extra point for the hosts.

Scarlets 13-14 Racing 92

Racing 92 opened their Heineken Champions Cup Pool Four campaign with a dramatic and controversial 14-13 victory over Scarlets.

The French side were trailing 13-7 in the final minutes when referee Matthew Carley awarded Racing a penalty try and also sent scrum-half Gareth Davies to the sin bin, and from there, Racing held on to win.

Racing’s two tries came at the end of the first and second halves with a losing bonus point being little consolation for Scarlets, last year’s semi-finalist’s, who led for most of the match.

Don’t celebrate too early: Bath’s Freddie Burns tackled at last moment, loses match against Toulouse

13 Oct

Freddie Burns made a shocking error to cost his side Bath the match against Toulouse on Saturday.

The French side emerged victorious by a score of 22-20 in their Champions Cup opener, despite the fact it seemed their English opponents had the game won.

Having already missed a penalty right in front of the posts just minutes earlier, Burns then broke through and looked set to score the try which would steal victory for his side.

He was so confident of his triumph, that he started celebrating early and blew a kiss to the supporters before tapping the badge on his shirt.

Burns was consoled by his teammates after the defeat

Just as the full-back went to put the ball down to score, Maxime Medard of Toulouse poked it out of his hand before booting the ball away, leaving Burns distraught.

Burns collapsed to the ground and was subsequently taken off as his team went on to lose the match.

Bath 24 – 39 Exeter: Chiefs leapfrog Saracens for at least 24 hours to go top of Gallagher Premiership

5 Oct

Exeter temporarily leapfrogged Saracens into top spot in the Gallagher Premiership with a 39-24 win over Bath.

It took an hour for the Chiefs to overpower their West Country rivals, with Bath leading 19-18 going into the last quarter before the Devon side scored 21 points in as many minutes.

Stu Townsend goes over to score

Tries by Dave Ewers, Ian Whitten and Jack Nowell, all converted by fly-half Gareth Steenson who kicked 14 points in all, added to first-half scores from Stu Townsend and Don Armand.

Bath tried desperately to claim a losing bonus point at the death but were left empty-handed. They scored tries through Rhys Priestland and Chris Cook while Freddie Burns kicked a conversion and four penalties.

A full house at the Rec had to endure five minutes of kick-tennis before Exeter slipped into higher gear but, after 12 rucks near the Bath line, Taulupe Faletau and Zach Mercer forced a penalty to relieve the pressure.

Burns opened the scoring on 11 minutes with a 45-metre penalty which sparked them into life, full of running and off-loads but errors too.

It was a tense West Country derby
Bath were leading until the last quarter 19-18

With the home scrum at a distinct disadvantage, it was a surprise when Bath extended their lead on 22 minutes with a sweeping cross-field move.

The diligent Tom Ellis eventually found Semesa Rokoduguni on his shoulder on the right touchline and the winger’s kick infield bounced perfectly for Priestland to gather and score.

Burns converted but Exeter hit back with a 27th-minute Steenson penalty and, almost immediately, a Townsend intercept try from near halfway also converted by his fly-half.

Another Burns penalty edged Bath back in front but flanker Armand scored in the corner from Steenson’s well-judged grubber kick to give Exeter a 15-13 lead at the break.

Jack Nowell celebrates with his Exeter teammates

Burns and Steenson swapped penalties in the early minutes of the second half and then Bath lost Rokoduguni to the sin-bin on 48 minutes for a deliberate knock-on.

Oddly, it was Exeter’s discipline that then began to unravel as Bath forced successive penalties and Burns landed the second from 50 metres out on the right.

And when Chiefs left wing Santiago Cordero danced his way almost to the try line he was penalised for not releasing the ball.

Bath’s penalty woes at the scrum returned however and, opting for the line-out, Exeter’s pack forced their way over to claim a try confirmed by the TV match official and credited to Ewers.

Steenson’s conversion put them 19-25 ahead going into the last quarter.

Minutes later, replacement Whitten danced past two Bath defenders to add the fourth try, with Steenson converting to extend the lead to 13 points. Nowell slid over for a fifth after Henry Slade had broken upfield from his own 22.

Replacement Cook finished off a nicely worked try for Bath and Whitten then saw yellow for a late hit on Jackson Willison.

Premiership Rugby Review: Saracens smash Bath, Exeter continue good form and Danny Cipriani fails to shine for Gloucester

29 Sep

Bath were punished for fielding a weakened team against Saracens as Liam Williams ran in a hat-trick of tries to help the Gallagher Premiership champions claim a 50-27 victory at Allianz Park.

Director of rugby Todd Blackadder made 13 changes to the side that toppled Northampton, including Toby Faletau, Luke Charteris, Sam Underhill and Joe Cokanasiga among the group of front-line players rested.

Liam Williams goes over for one of his three tries

Blackadder’s decision was shaped by Exeter’s visit to the Recreation Ground on Friday, but the price was paid in north London where Saracens had the bonus point sown up before half-time and amassed eight tries in total.

To Bath’s credit they trailed only 26-20 at the interval and were persistent throughout, but they were outclassed and would have finished further behind had Alex Goode and Williams not blundered in the final act of scoring.

Goode could be forgiven his mistake, however, as his lines of running, step and vision made him untouchable at times and the full-back repeatedly overlooked by England head coach Eddie Jones finished as man of the match.

Exeter continued their impressive start to the season with a fifth successive win as Worcester became their latest victims in a hard-fought 28-21 success at Sandy Park.

Jack Nowell makes a successful break at Sandy Park

The Warriors were competitive in the opening quarter but conceded three tries in the second to ensure that there was to be no repeat of last season’s shock 6-5 win at Sandy Park, which was the only occasion that Exeter were beaten in the league on their home ground.

Dave Ewers scored two tries for Exeter, Jack Yeandle and Harry Williams one apiece, with Gareth Steenson converting all four.

Two penalties from Chris Pennell and a try from Ted Hill were Worcester’s response as they now have their eyes firmly set on next week’s crucial home game with Premiership newcomers Bristol.

Bristol suffered their first Gallagher Premiership home defeat of the season as Northampton claimed a 45-40 bonus point victory at Ashton Gate.

The teams served up an 11-try spectacular in the west country sunshine to maintain this season’s trend of high-scoring encounters.

Lewis Ludlam goes over for Bristol at Ashton Gate

And Saints, without an away league success since April, had enough in the tank to deny a Bristol side that had already claimed wins on home soil against Bath and Harlequins.

Northampton often made hard work of it, but they got over the line after tries from Ehren Painter, Andrew Kellaway, Lewis Ludlam, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Alex Waller and Mike Haywood, while fly-half Dan Biggar kicked five conversions and a penalty and Harry Mallinder also landed a conversion.

Bristol only led once in the game, yet they refused to go quietly, with centre Will Hurrell (two), hooker Harry Thacker and wings Luke Morahan and Alapati Leiua all claiming touchdowns and fly-half Callum Sheedy booting 15 points.

Harlequins won for the first time in the Gallagher Premiership since the first match of the season as a thumping clash saw them overhaul home team Gloucester 27-25.

Cipriani failed to inspire Gloucester

Two tries from wing Nathan Earle plus the boots of fly-half James Lang, with two penalties an a conversion, plus his replacement Marcus Smith, who landed three penalties, saw the Londoners to victory.

Fly-half Danny Cipriani scored 15 of Gloucester’s points with a try, two penalties and two conversions with wing Charlie Sharples crossing the Harlequins line twice.

Gallagher Premiership: Exeter continue brilliant start, Saracens remain unbeaten, Newcastle claim first win of season

15 Sep

Here is the best of the action from Saturday’s games in the Gallagher Premiership.

Exeter Chiefs 35-18 Sale Sharks

Exeter maintained their exemplary start to their season with a third bonus point victory in succession to remain at the top of the Gallagher Premiership table.

However, their latest success, 35-18, was far from straightforward as Sale battled hard throughout and were unlucky to come away from Sandy Park with nothing.

Santiago Cordero got things up and running for Chiefs

Exeter scored five tries through Santiago Cordero, Jack Maunder, Jonny Hill, Tom Lawday and Alex Cuthbert. Joe Simmonds converted three and Gareth Steenson two.

Marland Yarde and Bryn Evans scored Sale’s tries with Alan MacGinty adding two penalties and a conversion.

Northampton Saints 27-38 Saracens

Saracens overcame a slow start to score five tries and secure a 38-27 victory over Northampton in a thrilling Gallagher Premiership encounter at Franklin’s Gardens.

In a game which swung back and forth, two tries in three minutes from David Strettle late on secured a bonus-point win for Mark McCall’s men.

Strettle’s try helped the champions secure a bonus point win

The visitors claimed the spoils despite seeing Jamie George and Billy Vunipola yellow-carded in either half as Alex Lewington crossed for a brace with Ben Spencer also on the scoreboard.

Northampton’s points came via Piers Francis, Dylan Hartley and Ben Franks, but the boot of Dan Biggar was not enough.

Worcester Warriors 20-23 Newcastle Falcons

The boot of former England fly-half Toby Flood steered Newcastle to a first Gallagher Premiership victory of the season.

Last year’s play-off semi-finalists held on to beat battling Worcester 23-20 at Sixways.

Flood scored 13 of Newcastle’s 23 points

Flood kicked three second-half penalties to add to first-half conversions of tries from scrum-half Sonatane Takulua and wing Sinoti Sinoti.

But the Falcons let Worcester off the hook as Scottish fly-half Duncan Weir scored a try, conversion and penalty, with full-back Chris Pennell landing a long penalty – while the hosts were also awarded a penalty try.

Harlequins 32-37 Bath Rugby

Joe Cokanasiga scored two tries as Bath ran out 37-32 winners during an entertaining Gallagher Premiership match at Harlequins.

Cokanasiga’s two tries helped Bath claim a narrow victory at the Stoop

The wing scored either side of half-time, while number eight Zach Mercer also added two tries as Todd Blackadder’s men claimed their first win of the season.

However, Bath were made to work by the hosts late on as Joe Marler and Charlie Mulchrone scored to give the home fans some hope following earlier scores from Danny Care and Joe Marchant.

Gallagher Premiership: Billy Vunipola scores on Saracens return, Exeter continue good start, Bath and Gloucester draw in thriller

8 Sep

Here is the best from Saturday’s action in the Gallagher Premiership.

Saracens 44-23 Bristol

Billy Vunipola made a try-scoring comeback as Saracens pulled clear of Bristol in a dominant second half that underpinned a 44-23 Gallagher Premiership victory at Allianz Park.

Vunipola’s first appearance since re-fracturing his arm against South Africa in June totalled 36 minutes and the injury-ravaged England number eight was a menace throughout.

Saracens needed his firepower to subdue a resilient Bristol who led 18-13 at half time and suffered the injustice of seeing George Smith harshly sent off for a tackle on Jackson Wray when the score was delicately poised at 18-18.

Vunipola and Saracens turned the screw in the second-half

Smith’s challenge was at shoulder height and there was a clear attempt to use his right arm, but after repeated viewings referee Andrew Jackson reached for the red card. Wray departed for a head injury assessment and was unable to return.

The Australia Test centurion stared at Jackson in disbelief, received a sympathetic pat on the head from his head coach Pat Lam upon reaching the dugout and then watched as Saracens powered clear with tries from Vunipola and Liam Williams.

England lock Maro Itoje was lucky to escape punishment for a high tackle on Joe Joyce under the posts as Bristol staged a final-quarter comeback that ended when Williams plundered two additional tries to complete his own successful return from a groin problem.

Wasps 31-42 Exeter

Exeter beat Wasps 42-31 in an enthralling contest at the Ricoh Arena to continue their impressive start to the Gallagher Premiership season.

Henry Slade scored two of Exeter’s six tries

After last week’s 40-point demolition of Leicester at Sandy Park, the visitors overcame a 24-21 half-time deficit to run out deserved winners.

Sam Simmonds and Henry Slade both scored two tries for Chiefs, with Santiago Cordero and Don Armand also crossing and Gareth Steenson converting all six.

Elliot Daly, Josh Bassett, Dan Robson and Nathan Hughes scored Wasps’ tries, with Billy Searle adding three conversions and a penalty. Lima Sopoaga added a conversion.

Bath 31-31 Gloucester

Matt Banahan denied his former Bath team-mates a remarkable Gallagher Premiership victory as his late converted try secured Gloucester a 31-31 draw.

Banahan denied his old club the victory at the death

Ex-England wing Banahan, who joined Gloucester this summer following a long Bath career that saw him more than 250 appearances, struck two minutes from time, with Billy Twelvetrees’ conversion ensuring the points were shared.

Leicester 49-33 Newcastle

Leicester gave Geordan Murphy the perfect start as interim head coach as they came out on top in a thrilling 49-33 victory over Newcastle.

It had been a turbulent week for the Tigers with Matt O’Connor sacked on Monday following their 40-6 humiliation to Exeter in their Gallagher Premiership opener, leaving former Ireland and British & Irish Lions full-back Murphy in command on a temporary basis.

Murphy got off to a winning start as interim Leicester head coach

But the 40-year-old, who made 316 appearances for the Tigers, watched his men get off to a winning start against his old coach Dean Richards.

Eddie Jones issues ‘sincere apology’ to Bath owner Bruce Craig after Donald Trump taunt

17 Jun

England coach Eddie Jones has apologised to Bath owner Bruce Craig after branding him the ‘Donald Trump of rugby’.

The pair have been embroiled in a battle of words for many months, which escalated to the point where Jones made the disparaging remark – something he has since written to apologise for.

Eddie Jones has issued a ‘sincere apology’ to Bath owner Bruce Craig

An RFU spokeswoman said: “Eddie has apologised to Bruce Craig for the personal remarks.

“It was a sincere apology.”

Craig had expressed his concern after seeing a number of Bath players returning from international duty carrying injuries.

Clearly perturbed by the comments by the Bath owner, Jones replied by saying: “Bruce Craig sounds like the Donald Trump of rugby.

Bath owner Bruce Craig

“”He has the same hairstyle.

“Everything we do is about training to get better, it’s not about satisfying some bloke who has got plenty of money in Bath and thinks he knows everything about rugby.”

The England head coach is under intense pressure after suffering a sixth consecutive defeat in a row.

South Africa recovered from early pressure from the English pressure to win 23-12 in Bloemfontein on Saturday night, sealing a series win in the process.

After winning their first 17 Tests under Jones, the Red Rose are suddenly no longer considered favourites for the World Cup in Japan next year after their alarming slip in form.