Bath coach Gold admits to recruitment 'vulnerability'

Gary Gold

Bath coach Gary Gold has said the club is seeking an utility back to avert a possible fly-half shortage next season.

Bath will have Scotland's Tom Heathcote and England Saxons fly-half George Ford as their principal number 10s for next season, with Ollie Devoto as back up.

But Gold is concerned at what could happen if both Heathcote and Ford were called up simultaneously.

Gold's admission comes after Bath confirmed they were in talks with Gavin Henson over a possible move to The Rec

"Probably in the recruitment process that's the one area where we are a little bit vulnerable," Gold said. "It's not just at 10 - it's at 10/12 and having that ever-versatile player."

Responding to questions about negotiations with Henson, Gold said: "We are looking at that type of individual.

"We are not looking for an out-and-out 10, we are looking for an individual who can cover us across the code."

Devoto, 19, played for England U20s at full-back this season, but his preferred position is at fly-half.

Heathcote played age-grade rugby for England but made a surprise decision to play for Scotland last year.

Bath announced on Tuesday that Ford, 20, will join from Leicester over the summer.

Gold added: "There is a slight complication in that Tom has made himself available for Scotland, not England.

"We may very well be in a situation where George is away with England or the Saxons and Tom goes on tour with Scotland.

"Then we are left with one individual who is 19 years old and we are then supposed to win week in week out, and who says that he might not pick up a knock?

"You have to cover those eventualities.

"You want an older head to put an arm around the younger guy, give him confidence and work with him during the week. That's the balance you need if you've gone for a youthful policy.

"I think it's irresponsible and unfair if we sign a load of kids and say to them 'off you go, good luck'. We have a responsibility to them.

"They can mature very quickly and be world-class players by 23 or 24, but they need a bit of help."