Stephen Donald: Bath coach defends fly-half's tenure

Stephen Donald

Bath head coach Gary Gold has insisted the club saw "glimpses" of the best of departing fly-half Stephen Donald.

The New Zealand international, 29, arrived at the Rec in November 2011 - three weeks after kicking the winning points in the World Cup final.

He has made 29 appearances in a spell hindered by injury and is set to leave the club at the end of the season to play in Japan.

"It think we saw incredible glimpses of Stephen," Gold told BBC Radio Bristol.

"He's struggled with his Achilles and his hip, so he has been hampered by injuries but that can happen to any player.

"Dan Hipkiss, Ben Williams, Matt Banahan have all had terrible injuries this year.

"Just because Stephen is leaving and he is who he is, it comes under the microscope."

Capped 23 times by his country, Donald was out of favour with the All Blacks when he agreed a two-year deal move to the Premiership from Super 15 side Chiefs.

He was famously on a fishing holiday when he received a late call-up to the World Cup squad, and went on to score the winning penalty in their 8-7 victory in the final against France.

Donald made his Bath debut in the Heineken Cup defeat by Glasgow but only managed a further eight appearances last season because of injury.

This season he has played 20 games in all competitions, scoring 114 points, but opted to move on at the end of the campaign to play for Mitsubishi Dynaboars.

Gold concluded: "There were things that he did for us this year that were fantastic.

"I'm thinking about his first try against Gloucester, his try against Leicester and the way he's organised. When you're spectating you don't hear that."

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