Hansen sweats on Humphreys injury verdict

2.3.2003

Mefin
Mefin
Mefin

[icWales] STEVE HANSEN faces a worrying 24 hours sweating on the fitness of his skipper Jonathan Humphreys.

The Bath hooker was forced to leave the field early with a shoulder injury as his side ground out a much-needed victory against Saracens in the Zurich Premiership relegation dogfight.

Humphreys picked up a knock on his shoulder after making a tackle on Aussie centre Tim Horan and was replaced on 66 minutes.

He will have a scan on the injury tomorrow, but hopes to be fit for the weekend's clash with Scotland.

It may be a nerve-racking time for Hansen, but Humphreys is confident he will recover in time to do the job.

"I have just wrenched my shoulder," he said.

"I have to have a check on it, probably on Monday, but I still have good movement in it.

"I will see the Welsh physio Mark Davies to check everything's all right, but I am pretty confident I will be available for next week."

If Humphreys doesn't make it, Hansen's hooker troubles will resur-face this week.

The coach plumped for Humphreys ahead of Pontypridd hooker Mefin Davies for last weekend's clash with England.

Hansen's other choice is rookie Gareth Williams from Bridgend, but he lacks the big-game experience

needed for the trip north of the border.

As for Humphreys, he went one better than he did last weekend for Wales. He led Bath in typical fashion, but this time got the win.

In the process, the west country side moved off the bottom of the table for the first time in three weeks.

Humphreys had been asked to do a similar job as he did with Wales last weekend and to use his experience to make the difference as a young Recreation Ground side finds its feet.

This was typical Humphreys. He led from the front and put his body on the line whenever it was needed.

If there was a loose ball to fall on, he fell on it. If there was a tackle to be made, he made it.

And the former Cardiff star is already a favourite of the Bath faithful with his all-or-nothing approach -the same approach that made him such a hit with Cardiff fans.

You couldn't help but notice that Bath skipper Danny Grewcock, the British Lions superstar, always went to Humphreys for advice whenever there was a decision to be made.

And from the first whistle, it was Humphreys providing the inspiration and motivation for his young team.

His inspirational qualities worked a treat against big-spenders Saracens.

Humphreys knows no other way and he was in the faces of the Saracens pack all afternoon. It wasn't pretty, but it was effective.

When you are in a battle for survival, players such as Humphreys, with their tenacity and never-say-die spirit, will always get you out of trouble.

He wasn't the only Welshman on show wearing a Bath jersey - he was joined by impressive scrum-half Andrew Williams and former Wales No 8 Nathan Thomas.

And both players show they have what it takes to survive and thrive in the Premiership. Williams looks like a Wales international in the making and Thomas did more than enough to prove he could fill the problem No 8 jersey for Wales.

Bath ended the first-half 13-6 to the good after a try by wing Simon Danielli eased the home nerves.

Humphreys was the first player there to congratulate him.

Danielli celebrated his Scotland A call-up by bagging another superb try and Scotland coach Ian McGeechan could do worse than elevate this young Scotland flyer from the `A' team to the senior squad ahead of this week's international.

The wing was a real handful as Bath played with a spirit and a passion that has often been lacking this season.

Tries by Kevin Maggs and replacement Elvis Seveali'i, who made a thrilling debut as a Bath replacement, was enough to seal the win.

Now Humphreys has to turn his attention to helping his country move off the Six Nations basement.

BATH: Tries: S Danielli (2), K Maggs, E Seveali'i; Cons: C Malone (2); Pens: C Malone (2).

SARACENS: Pens: A Goode (3).

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