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Bath Rugby dismiss speculation linking Francois Louw with Toulon move

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: January 31, 2013

  • Bath's South African forward Francois Louw

  • Stephen Donald is set for a return

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Bath Rugby have quashed suggestions that Francois Louw could be leaving the club after reports emerged that Toulon were interested in adding the flanker to their list of South African recruits.

Earlier this month, Bath head coach Gary Gold confirmed scrum-half Michael Claassens was mulling over whether to end a six-year spell at The Rec and had entered talks over a possible move to the Top 14 side.

Countryman Bryan Habana is already committed to joining Toulon from Super Rugby side Stormers for next season, but Bath first-team coach Mike Ford insisted that Louw is one Springbok international not on the move.

The 27-year-old flanker will remain at The Rec until at least the end of the three-year contract he signed upon arriving from Stormers in the summer of 2011.

“There’s no truth in that speculation – Francois is with us and is signed for next year,” said Ford.

“There’s nothing else to report with Michael. We’ve given him a bit of time off with his injury during the LV= Cup games, but he’s back with us this week.”

Claassens has been ruled out since Bath’s Aviva Premiership defeat at Wasps at the start of the month with a fractured a bone in his thumb.

The scrum-half will not be available for Saturday’s LV= Cup trip to Gloucester on Saturday, but Stephen Donald, who has also not played since limping off at Adams Park, will feature.

Carl Fearns is in contention to play for the first time since October, but Argentina international prop Eusebio Guinazu will have to wait for his debut, having originally signed for Bath in November.

“I don’t think Michael’s available for selection this weekend, but I think he is going to be fit for the Premiership games,” added Ford.

“There’s nothing untoward there. We are looking forward to him being available for the Worcester game.

“Stephen is fully fit and will be involved this week as Tom (Heathcote) is with Scotland.

“Carl will be involved in the 23 somewhere – he’s had a full week’s training, so that’s good news for us. Eusebio won’t be in the mix this week, but will in the next couple as he’s been training for the first time.”

If they are to reach the semi-finals, Bath must record a better result at Gloucester than Northampton achieve away to Exeter.

Ford, however, said Bath were only concerned with their own performance.

“First and foremost we’ll look to win the game, we’ve not mentioned bonus points or anything like that and what might happen at Sandy Park,” said Ford.

“We’re just concentrating on ourselves this week. We just want to go out and have a good performance at Gloucester.

“It could be a good day for us – we could win, Northampton could lose or we could get a bonus point.

“Anything could happen, but we just think that it’s our own performance that gives us the best chance of going through.”

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