'Beaver' warned about bruising ahead

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 05:00 06/11/2011

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World  Cup hero Stephen Donald is in for a tough time in Britain.

That's the promise from seasoned professional Sam Vesty who has been playing No 10 for Bath while Donald was whitebaiting and then kicking the crucial penalty that helped the All Blacks to an 8-7 win over France in the World Cup final.

"Beaver" Donald, who has become a cult figure in New Zealand, has arrived in Bath with the 29-year-old Vesty warning him about the perils of the English Premiership.

"When it comes to training and we'll be smacking bits out of each other he'll realise it's about the Premiership now," Vesty told the BBC.

"He'll be on a bit of a buzz as he's won the World Cup but then he'll train here and it will be wet and windy and maybe that buzz will go.

"It's very different to Super 15s – the length of season, amount of time you get off and the type of rugby that's played. The defences work so hard over here and they are very well organised, perhaps not like in Super 15s.

"The boys are bigger and heavier over here so you get a little bit more bruised. But I'm sure he's a big lad so I'm sure he'll be able to cope with it. If I can cope with it I'm sure he can."

Donald is set to make his Bath debut in their Heineken Cup opener against Glasgow Warriors in Scotland next weekend.

Bath's director of rugby Sir Ian McGeechan has big plans for Donald, who is on a three-year deal.

"He has run the Chiefs and he is a great team person and a good decision-maker," McGeechan said.

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