Jonathan Joseph will be back in action for Bath Rugby before long according to director of rugby Stuart Hooper.
The centre returned to Farleigh House from England this week having sustained a calf injury as England beat Wales 13-24 in the Autumn Nations Cup on Saturday in the 29-year-old’s 54th cap.
The good news is the centre should be back in action sooner rather than later with the opening games of the European Heineken Champions Cup on the horizon after the trip to Worcester Warriors in the Gallagher Premiership this weekend.
Discussing Joseph, Hooper said: “It is definitely not significant. It is something which will keep him out this weekend obviously as otherwise he probably would have stayed with England.
“It will keep him out this weekend but I wouldn’t anticipate it to be much longer than that.”
Hooper revealed the 40-3 demolition his side suffered against Exeter Chiefs on Saturday at Sandy Park has also left a number of his players carrying knocks which means they are touch and go for the key league game this weekend.
Hooper said: “We have had a couple of bumps this week if I am honest, we don’t know definitively yet.
“There are a couple of people who are touch and go for the weekend.
“It’s Wednesday today so there are still a few more days to go to make a call.
“We have still got a bit of work to do making sure the squad is in the right place and everyone’s competing for places, there are few bumps and bruises.”
Bath have opened their 2020/21 Gallagher Premiership campaign with back-to-back defeats leaving them bottom of the table.
Understandably Hooper won’t publicly say it, but that amps up the significance of Saturday’s trip to Sixways Stadium, especially with a fresh campaign in Europe on the horizon with Bath looking to make amends for a disastrous Heineken Champions Cup campaign in 2019/20 which saw the Blue, Black and White fail to win a single group game.
Hooper said: “This is the last game of this Premiership block, what we are looking for is a performance which combines the things we have learnt against Newcastle and Exeter and as always with the guys, the expectations they put on each other is huge.
“If they could they would play the game today.”
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Both sides will be without key international stars for the Premiership with Bath’s Anthony Watson, Sam Underhill, Will Stuart and Charlie Ewels retained in Eddie Jones’ 27-player squad for this weekend’s final of the Autumn Nations Cup against France on Sunday.
Prop Beno Obano and hooker Tom Dunn have been back with the Blue, Black and White all week, while winger Joe Cokanasiga returned in midweek.
Elsewhere number eight Taulupe Faletau starts for Wales against Italy.
Worcester star centre Ollie Lawrence has overcome injury and also remains with England this weekend while flanker Cornell du Preez and fly-half Duncan Weir are with Scotland who face Ireland on Saturday.
Warriors are also missing some key men to injuries with backrowers Matt Kvesic (neck) and Marco Mama (thigh) joining the club’s injury list following their 30-13 defeat to Bristol Bears on Saturday. Experienced lock Graham Kitchener is also sidelined.