Now that the Lions have successfully defeated the Australians and we've revelled in their victorious tour it's moving on to that time of year, the time where we get to embrace our beloved club rugby. The time where we get to parade around in our teams colours, turn ourselves into a knowledgeable pundit and fill our hearts with expectations of a successful season.
Things are now slotting into place for the next season at Bath, could we be looking at a much improved run out for the boys in Blue, Black and White? We had a promise of a "new beginning" last season, with a new collective of coaching staff. The success wasn't quite up to the expectations, but a first seasons tenure with somebody else's squad is never going to be easy.
There was some moments of brilliance from the squad and a few woeful displays. The true display of a "new beginning" comes with the second season, time to acquire new players and allow players to move on as they may not fit the desired plan.
So Gary Gold has done just that, and with his shopping list in hand appears to of made some exciting purchases. With his acquisitions it's easy to see the future is where he is directing the squad and using a few mature players to help guide the youthful members, aiding their already rising skills to help become an accomplished solid team. With a squad now designed on Gary Gold's ideas and visions of where the club should be going as supporters we need to fully support the Team and believe the clubs expectations are the same as ours.
A list of 10 players have announced over the last few months who have been drafted in, some we knew long before their announcements and some a little surprising. Rumours and speculation flew around last season linking everyman and his dog to Bath. As the squad and the new batch of players all join up slowly together for pre-season excitement and anticipation is drifting in to see how the reformed team can perform this season.
Matt Garvey- @MattGarvey5
Coming along the M4 from London Irish comes an interesting utility forward, being able to cover the second and back row is an unusual ability for a forward. For the last couple of seasons at the exiles have seen him raise his profile and become a quality player, using Gary Gold's words to describe the 25 year old "He is a big unit and can do the rough stuff, but he can also offer a real threat in attack." On the fringe of the Saxons a promising player and a good call for Bath.
Leroy Houston- @leroyhouston8
An Australian number 8 that has impressed Gold for some time. Houston arrives at the Rec following a two year stint at French club Colomiers. "Leroy is a guy I have admired for a long time and we are delighted to have secured him. He's very dangerous with ball in hand and loves to hit hard in defence."
At 26 he's already experienced glory while picking up the super 15 title with the Queensland Reds in 2011, let's hope he can replicate that with Bath and becomes a key player within the squad.
David Sisi- @DavidSisi
Joining his fellow ex-exile team mate Matt Garvey in the forwards comes an exciting prospect for Bath. Being 6'4" and 120kg the back-rower Sisi at only 20 is what is known as a big lad! A truly natural player and a huge rising talent, with his displays for London Irish last season and a phenomenal showing for the England u20's in the junior world cup, where they returned as champions it's plain to see why Bath were keen to sign him.
Juan Pablo Orlandi- @Jpiolandi
Joining Bath from Racing Metro 92 Orlandi becomes the third Argentine to join Bath in the last year, joining his fellow countrymen winger Horacio Agulla and hooker Eusebio Guiñazú forming a strong Puma contingent at Bath.
As the Argentine's are renowned for their scrummaging prowess the 30 year old tight head prop lives up to that billing. Another powerhouse in the front row will help add an extra dimension to an already formidable front row.
George Ford- @George_Fordy
Picked to a future fly half for England a future prospect that helps build greater expectations for the club.
Joining his father at Bath, who is now promoted to head coach, Ford is expected to make big steps at the club.
At the ripe old age of 20 he already has an impressive list of statistics.
Including 14 appearances for England U18s and 11 for England U20s then handed a promotion to the England Saxons squad. Not only wad he the youngest player to make his debut at professional club level, making 33 first team appearances for Tigers amassing a total of 220, but in 2011 he became not only the youngest but first English player to receive the IRB junior player of the year.
Another ex-Tiger joining Ford in the path to Bath is 24 Micky Young. As with Ford well decorated in caps for England, up through the age ranges all that's missing is an EPS cap to add to his tally. Moved to Tigers in 2011 from Falcons after 79 caps within 3 seasons, under used at Tigers hopefully we will get to see his best at the Rec, and after seeing him play at Twickenham and scoring the winning try in the IRB Sevens in 2008/09 against New Zealand I know there's a lot to come from this nippy little scrum half.
Anthony Watson- @anthonywatson_
The third of the of the London Irish quartet to join Bath Watson is a 19 year old fullback who with footwork and pace may rival Kyle Eastmond in the excitement stakes, anybody lucky enough to see him run out for the England U20s would of seen what he has to offer. With the likes of the truly unpredictable running Bendy to work with as a potential mentor he appears to be another shrewd signing for the future by Gold.
Jonathan Joseph- @JonathanJoseph0
The final member of the quartet of new recruits from London Irish is Joseph, possibly one of the most exciting centres in the premiership. Enjoyed a good tour of Argentina in the summer with England, seeing him pair up with Kyle Eastmond and proved what we'd been hoping, Bath are looking at having one if the most electric centre pairings with the potential to destroy many defensive lines. With good support around them I believe we are going to see many a try in the 2013/2014 season.
Sneaking in quietly us the treble cap winning welsh Roberts. He has donned the Welsh red jersey un every capacity be it school, junior, elite and sevens. Adding to the scrum half collective of Stringer and young fast ball seems to be the target for next season's game plan, but with Roberts we may see him taking it on alone to make that extra yardage and stretch the oppositions defence.
Gavin Henson- no twitter account but @UnrealGavHenson
The final purchase is Roberts fellow Welshman and possibly the most scrutinised purchase for Bath, the player known more for off the pitch activities as those on the pitch. Love him or hate him the pure fact is he is a naturally talented player and still has plenty to offer the game. Henson a utility back will be able to fill in a selection of positions from fly half, centre or full back, a very useful asset to have around when international duties call. His 33 caps for Wales and his experience will help aid the younger members if the squad, a quality kicker which could assist Heathcote and Ford and potentially be the difference between a win or a loss, which has been an issue at the Rec over recent seasons.
New recruits in place and meeting up with the rest of the squad learning to gel as a team, the next step was to learn who Bath will be facing in the new campaign.
With a starting fixture against newly promoted Falcons at Kingston Park, no easy fixture as newly promoted teams come out with all guns blazing and want to make a mark showing their worth top flight rugby.
The next two fixtures will be a large test for Bath. Tigers at the Rec and the Tigers potentially hurting from Richard Cockerill's ban, the possibility is there for Bath to be able to grab some points from them. Sarries up next at the Allianz Park will be a huge task and may be a gauge where Bath are in comparison to the big boys.
A added bonus this season is the fact that six out of Bath's first fixtures will be televised, obviously only a bonus if your lucky enough to have BT Sport.
6/9/13 19:45 Newcastle Falcons Away
14/9/13 15:15 Leicester Tigers Home
22/9/13 14:00. Saracens Away
28/9/13 15:00. London Irish Home
4/10/13 19:45. Sale Sharks Away
25/10/13 19:45 Gloucester Rugby. Home
1/11/13 19:45. Worcester Warriors Away
23/11/13 15:00 London Wasps Away
30/11/13 15:00 Exeter Chiefs Home
21/12/13 15:00. Harlequins Home
28/12/13 15:00 Northampton Saints Away
4/1/14 15:00 LeicesterTigers Away
8/2/14 15:00. Newcastle Falcons Home
15/2/14 15:00 Exeter Chiefs Away
22/2/14 15:00 London Wasps Home
28/2/14 20:00 Saracens Home
22/3/14 15:00 London Irish Away
29/3/14 15:00 Sale Sharks Home
12/4/14 15:00 Gloucester Rugby Away
19/4/14 15:00 Worcester Warriors Home
3/5/14 15:00 Northampton Saints Home
10/5/14 15:00 Harlequins. Away
The only thing still missing from the complete jigsaw puzzle is the new kit, we know there will be a new one but as of yet no news. As Puma have pulled out of rugby it was announced that Bath will have a whole new kit. In the normal trend from Bath there's a deathly silence in regards to this, no manufacture or even a hint of design. My own preference and I know that many agree, we need a return to the classic hoops!
Bring on September and lets get the Blue, Black and White ball rolling and hope for a successful season!