Hooker crisis under control - James

09th May 2014, 07:26


Not panicking: Paul James

Not panicking: Paul James

Bath prop Paul James believes his club's back-up hooker contingent will do well if they are picked for Saturday's clash at Harlequins.

Bath prop Paul James believes his club's back-up hooker contingent will do well if they are called into action in Saturday's play-off decider at Harlequins.

Both Bath's first-choice number twos, Rob Webber and Ross Batty, sustained injuries in last weekend's 19-19 draw against Northampton at the Rec and are are set to miss the trip to the Stoop.

Webber will definitely not be in action after injuring his knee. The injury could rule him out of the rest of Bath's campaign as well as England's tour to New Zealand next month.

Batty is also battling to overcome a shoulder injury and is doubtful for the clash with Harlequins.

Bath can still call on the services of Argentina's Eusebio Guinazu and Academy hooker Tom Dunn, who is waiting to be cleared after he was cited for an incident while on loan at London Scottish earlier this season.

James, who has represented Wales in 53 Tests, is not panicking, however, and has confidence Guinazu and Dunn will do well if selected.

"There are two more hookers in the squad and the coaches have told everyone they've got to be ready to go if they are called in," he told the Bath Chronicle.

"There's no doubt in my mind those boys will be ready and be really pumped up for it.

"Seb is an Argentine international hooker, so there are no problems there if he has to play against Quins. He will just step in and everyone will be more than happy alongside him.

"We've just turned up to training this week and regrouped, ready to get on with it. We pull tight as a group when the going gets tough and we'll just keep at it."

Fellow prop Nathan Catt stepped in as a makeshift hooker in the closing stages against Northampton but head coach Mike Ford said he will not be considered as a hooker.

"I thought Nathan did a really good job scrummaging-wise but when it comes to line-outs I think we need a specialist hooker so we've got our throwing sorted," said Ford.

"It's been a squad all year that's done well, not just the 15 who have played. We've got still got Eusebio if Ross doesn't make it and if it's Dunny that has to come in we're not bothered by that either.

"And we've also got someone like Tom Woolstencroft, who has come on wonderfully with the Academy this year.

"We will deal with it. You always need a little bit of luck with injuries but the good thing about us is that we've trained the same all year. If someone has to step in there's nothing new they'll need to learn."