Depleted Bath sign Prydie and Venter

Tom Prydie attacks for Scarlets
Seven-cap Tom Prydie became the youngest player to play for Wales in 2010, aged 18 years and 25 days

Struggling Bath have signed former Scarlets wing Tom Prydie on a short-term deal and Edinburgh centre Jordan Venter on a contract until the end of next season.

Wales international Prydie, 29, who can play at full-back, was a free agent after leaving Scarlets last month.

South African Venter, 19, has spent the past year in Scotland.

They join a Bath side that has been badly hit by injuries and are without a win all season in all competitions.

Half-backs Ben Spencer and Danny Cipriani went off with injuries in the defeat by Northampton on Saturday, while Jonathan Joseph, Ruaridh McConnochie, Orlando Bailey and Josh McNally all pulled out prior to the match.

Anthony Watson, Beno Obano, Taulupe Faletau, Jaco Coetze, Cam Redpath and Joe Cokansiga are among those already out, some with long-term injuries. Collectively, those six players have made just 10 Premiership appearances for the club this season.

Prior to the new signings coming in, director of rugby Stuart Hooper admitted his depleted side will face a “huge challenge” when they take on Leinster in the European Cup on Saturday.

“As probably many directors of rugby, you do sit down at the start of the year and you block out your games and understand who’s available, who’s away on international duty and stuff like that,” Hooper said.

“And for a long period of time now, out of our top 30 players we’ve had less than 50% available. That’s the magnitude of the task.”

Bath are bottom of the Premiership having lost all nine of their fixtures so far, while they also lost their two matches in the Premiership Rugby Cup this autumn.

With a growing injury list, Hooper says it has prevented any comparison being made from match to match or for any momentum to be built.

Despite the injuries, he insists he’s keen to take the positives from the situation, not least experience players in their wider squad are gaining.

“Some of the guys who, when I sat here at the start of the season wouldn’t have been in the top 30, definitely are now,” Hooper said.

“It’s a challenge obviously on the weekend to play the game, but it’s a challenge in the training week as well. But it’s also a massive opportunity.

“These guys are writing a huge amount of knowledge in their own brains and their own bodies of Premiership rugby and what it feels like.

Bath's Max Ojomoh kicks for touch against Northampton
Bath centre Max Ojomoh had to make the switch to fly-half against Northampton due to injuries

“Those are things that probably wouldn’t have happened if we had fully-fit players through the whole year.”

Hooper cited players such as Max Ojomoh, typically a centre, who was moved to fly-half following Cipriani’s departure against Saints, a position he’d never played at senior level.

Second row Ewan Richards, 19, has also moved up from the academy to make his Premiership debut in recent weeks. Fly-half Orlando Bailey, also 19, has started six matches this season in Cipriani’s absence.

Against four-times European champions Leinster, Bath face a team top of the United Rugby Championship and yet to lose in the league at their own Aviva Stadium.

Hooper was hopeful Joseph, Bailey and McConnochie would all be in contention to return this weekend, while Spencer’s condition has been “improving” before an assessment later this week. Back row Mike Williams and Cipriani both went off for head injury assessments against Northampton.


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