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Bath bolster pack with new signing Nick Koster

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: October 25, 2012

Bath will check on Stuart Hooper

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Bath yesterday bolstered their pack with the signing of Western Province back-rower Nick Koster.

The 23-year-old is an imposing figure at 6ft 4in tall and has represented South Africa at all age-group levels.

He made his Super 14 debut on the wing in 2009, but has since switched to play in the forwards.

Bath head coach Gary Gold, said: “Nick is a very exciting young player and we are delighted that he has agreed to move to Bath. He is a hard-working, incredibly motivated guy and we are sure he will fit in with the club ethos that we are developing.

“We have a very talented and competitive back row and Nick knows he will have to fight for his place, but he is up for the challenge and we can’t wait to see the results.”

Forwards coach Neal Hatley believes there will be no further additions to the pack until the new year, however, despite injuries and international call-ups leaving the club with depleted ranks throughout the early stages of the season.

“You are always moving and evolving – you have to,” said Hatley, who joined as part of Bath’s coaching overhaul in the summer. “We’ve got some ideas moving forward, but there is nothing firm at the moment.

“Probably closer to the end of the calendar year we’ll have a better idea of where we are going recruitment-wise.

“With where we are now, this is probably the squad that will take us through the season.

“I don’t expect a big cavalry to be coming over the hill in the next month or so. We are pretty settled with what we are using at the moment.

“Gary wants to give the people here the best opportunity to prove themselves.”

Bath return to Aviva Premiership action on Saturday with Exeter Chiefs visiting The Rec (2.30pm).

Hatley expects the visitors to bounce back from their baptism of fire in the Heineken Cup as Bath bid to maintain their perfect top-flight record against the Chiefs.

“I think they are a fantastic team and Rob Baxter and Ali Hepher have done an unbelievable job,” said Hatley.

“They’ve had a run of really hard games, will be smarting after the two losses and looking to get back on track. They work harder than a lot of people in the Premiership and get good reward from it.

“We’re under no illusions as to the scale of the challenge.”

Captain Stuart Hooper’s fitness will be assessed before the weekend and he could play for the first time in a month.

Matt Banahan is also back from injury but will be given more time to recover having not featured since early September.

“Stuart Hooper may be okay for the weekend,” said Hatley. “He came through a set-piece session earlier this week and is a week ahead of where we thought he was going to be.

“We will know a little bit closer to the game as we want to give him as much time as possible because he’s very important to us.

“Hopefully Matt Banahan isn’t a lot longer away either. We’re in a fortunate position that Ben Williams has been playing well in the last two weeks, so we don’t have to rush Matt, but we’d obviously like him back as soon as possible.”

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