Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Bath bid farewell to a trio of fans favourites

It's a sad day when a club bids fair well to one of the fans favourites but it's even worse when we have to say good bye and good luck to three! 
With the season drawing to the end the Northampton Saints game will be Bath's last home fixture of the current campaign and the last time we will have three great servants of the club wearing the famous Blue, Black and White colours of Bath. Nick Abendanon, Tom Biggs and Anthony Perenise will be signing off from the Rec before moving on to pastures new. 

Tom Biggs is coming to the end of four years with Bath after joining from Newcastle Falcons, a huge loss for Bath as he is on his way to Worcester Warriors.
Biggs began his rugby career at Leeds Tykes when he was discovered by, now England head coach, Stuart Lancaster who signed him up for their academy. While out on loan to Harrogate injury problems for Leeds earned him a call back to Tykes. Four tries in his full debut season and then finishing the season helping Leeds remain in the premiership and earning a Powergem cup winners medal, beating Bath in their first loss at Twickenham in a final.
Two more season at Leeds in which he was their top try scorer and earned himself a place in the England U21's team, although a torn ligament surgery on his shoulder hampered his Saxons call up before getting his first of four Saxons caps against Italy in 2008. In 2009 Biggs signed for Newcastle and after a season playing for the Falcons it was announced he was moving to Bath.
Within his first season for Bath he secured his place in the Bath fans hearts, his hat trick against Wasps in the St George's day match at Twickenham being part of his 11 tries in 25 games making him one of the highest try scorers in a season for Bath. His pace, guile and tenacity made him one of the most exciting wingers in the premiership and every time he has the ball in his hand there is an expectancy of him crossing the line. Biggs isn't all about the tries, he also is a player who can deliver a huge tackle, bearing in mind his size in comparison to some of the players he is never scared to make that big hit and encapsulates the phrase 'punching above his weight'.
The announcement that Biggs was changing codes and moving to Hull FC stunned the Bath faithful as such a huge talent within Union was leaving the game. Biggs moving to league this season has seen him disappear off of the Bath team sheet, with only a handful of first XV games and featuring in the Bath United team. Sadly for Tom his move to league has since fallen through and due to salary cap and signings for next season Bath are unable to offer him a contract which has seen him make the move to Warriors for next season. 

The rampaging Samoan tight head Prop Anthony Perenise joined Bath in 2011 from super rugby team the Hurricanes. His bullocking runs have been something to behold, he's a player who will  get over the gain line. Perenise had also played for the Highlanders before the Hurricanes and his Super Rugby experience shows, with the fast paced and powerful games in the Southern Hemisphere game it's enabled him to bring a little extra to the Premiership and Bath.
Perenise has certainly had his fair share of tries while at Bath, his latest the first in the Amlin Challenge Cup semi final victory against Wasps. The most memorable has to be his try in Baths 5 try haul against Northampton Saints in 2012's LV=Cup 46-14 Win, it's not very often you see a unit that size throwing out a goose step is something to behold. 
A very technically able scrummager with such power has seen him become a regular in Baths first team squad, if not starting a brilliant impact substitute to bring on. At 6ft and 18st 8lb he is also a very mobile prop with a huge turn of pace for a big man any team would welcome him into their side, which is what Bristol have done. Announced earlier this season that the seven time capped Samoan will be making the short journey to join the ever increasing list of players at Bristol, he is surely going to make a huge impact there as he has at Bath.

Another huge loss to the squad is Nick Abendanon who has been part of Bath for nine years, but is going to be making his way to Claremont next season. Seeming to be in the form of his life at the moment it's a shame he's leaving Bath and our shores to cross the channel to France, but recognition has been shown as he's signing for one of France's most prominent teams at the moment.
His dynamic runs, sometimes so dynamic perhaps he doesn't even know where his feet are taking him. Abendanon is one of those players with that extra little bit of trickery up his sleeve, with the ball in hand you just know you are about to see something special. 
Abendanon has an ability to find spaces where there doesn't to appear to be any, great awareness and has been not only good at going forward but pretty handy at pulling off a try saving tackle or two. 
Unfortunately for Bendy injuries haven't been on his side and quite often they have come at totally the wrong time, a player who definitely should have more international caps under his belt than he does. His reputation as a player who has been known to make some big errors has also hampered his progress, a reputation that if you see him play regularly you'll know is unjust, those days of being unpredictable are long since gone but an English call up has evaded him. 
Working his way from the Bath academy, playing over 200 games for the club and amassing a tally of 185 points, being such  a stalwart for the club his move has shocked and saddened a great deal of the Bath faithful. Abendanon's hopes are to sign off his Bath career with some silverware under his belt and with the Amlin Challenge cup and potential play off spots still to go, his hopes could still become reality.

All three players have proved theirselves at the club and for that reason is why they are so well received  at Bath and why so many fans will be sad to see them go. Players come and players go in the modern era of rugby but it's always a shame when three such talents move on, three great players who will be missed and I'm sure all supporters of Bath will thank them for the memories they've left and wish them good luck! 

Pictures courtesy of onside images

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