No relief in sight for Bath Rugby’s fly-half shortage ahead of Harlequins

Bath Rugby head into Friday night’s clash with defending Premiership champions Harlequins without a recognized fly-half available.

Director of rugby Stuart Hooper confirmed former England international Danny Cipriani is not ready to return from a combination of concussion and illness, nor is South African Tian Schoeman, who has not played since injuring his knee last March away at Newcastle.

With England head coach Eddie Jones calling up 20-year-old Orlando Bailey for this week’s five-day training camp in Brighton ahead of the 2022 Guinness Six Nations, along with forward clubmate’s Chalie Ewels and Will Stuart, that leaves Bath’s resources at fly- half completely heavily depleted.

Hooper said: “Nobody would carry more than three 10s and we have all three out.

“We have Cameron [Redpath] who can obviously play there, Max Ojomoh who can play there.

“It’s not ideal but it is what it is.

“With Orlando, realistically we didn’t sit down at the start of the year and think he was going to get picked for England in year one, but he has done exceptionally well so it is credit to him.”

Scottish inside center Redpath, who started at fly-out out in France in the 39-21 defeat to La Rochelle two weeks ago looks set to return to the 10 jersey on Friday night.

The good news for Hooper and his side is the visitors will be without their fly-half talisman Marcus Smith with the extraordinary young playmaker also away with England and set to be the national side’s first choice standoff throughout the Six Nations with captain Owen Farrell suffering another injury in training last week.

Italian international Tommy Allan looks set to wear the 10 jersey for Quins this weekend having started there in the club’s comeback win over Castres in the Heineken Champions Cup on Friday night.

As for Cipriani, who has made just four starts and seven appearances in total this season after suffering two head knocks and contracting Covid, Hooper said: “He is still recovering.

“He went into a period of illness with a concussion, which was the second one he had had so he is on a GRTP [Graduated Return to Play protocols] quiet.”

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