Catt Mike

by Russell Gibbs and Geoff Pillinger
Player Mike Catt

Mike J Catt

Position: Fly Half / Centre

Born: 17th September 1971 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Height: 5ft 10in

Weight: 11st

Education: Grey High School, Port Elizabeth.

Achievements: East Province U21s, England U 21s, England (75 caps), British & Irish Lions (8 appearances)

Honours: MBE (World Cup Winner 2003)

Debut game: 5th December 1992 v Nottingham

Competitive Debut: 13th February 1993 v Gloucester

Final game: 29th April 2004 v Wasps

Number of Appearances: 229

Career details:

South Africa born Mike Catt held the distinction of being the United Kingdom’s first official full-time rugby player when the game went professional back in 1996. By that time the mercurial fly half, centre or full back had been with Bath for just over four seasons and had matured into one of the brightest talents in the World game. He joined Bath in 1992 after trying, but fortunately failing to get hold of club officials from Gloucester to organise a trial. A British passport holder, Bath Rugby had no hesitation in snapping up Catt when offered the chance and he duly made his Bath debut on the 5th December 1992 in a 24-17 win at Nottingham.
Formerly with Eastern Province in his native South Africa, Catt cemented a place as understudy to Stuart Barnes after scoring a brace of tries in a win over London Irish in 1993. His impressive performances for Bath ensured that international representation would certainly follow and Catt was duly selected for the England under-21 side to tour Australia. He capped a fine trip by scoring a try in the Test victory over Australia under-21 in Sydney. This precipitated a meteoric rise in the England ranks and Catt won his first full England cap as a replacement in the 1994 victory over Wales. The international breakthrough he required though came in the match with Canada at Twickenham. Starting as a replacement he came on for the unlucky Paul Hull and made a striking impression blazing over for two tries. After such an achievement it was likely that Catt would keep his spot and he did for the 1995 Five Nations and the World Cup in South Africa. By the start of the professional era Catt had become a regular in the Bath and England first teams, having played 72 times for his club with 195 points to his name. The first year of the open game saw Catt perform his most incredible feat in the Blue, White and Black as he scooted over for three tries in five minutes in a Heineken Cup demolition of Italian side Benetton Treviso. He finished the match with a haul of 33 points from four tries, five conversions and a penalty. This sort of form seemed to bode well for the 1997 British Lions tour, and yet Catt was overlooked by Ian McGeechan who preferred the more conservative Paul Grayson. Catt meanwhile got on with touring for England and after a magnificent performance in the first test win over Argentina suddenly found himself called into the Lions squad when Grayson got injured. Scoring a try against Natal and generally playing well, he was selected for the third test with the Springboks, after sitting on the bench for the second test. While his talents remained undoubted by the Rec. faithful the rest of the country weren’t so sure and Catt found himself on the bench for two of the 1998 Five Nations matches, despite being an integral part of the Bath Heineken Cup winning side. His form with Bath continued to be good throughout the 1999/2000 season without the added pressure of the goal kicking, which had been handed to Jon Preston. Eventually England saw sense and Clive Woodward re-instated Catt as an integral part of the set-up, with England using the Bath link man as a ‘second five-eighth’ in their successful 2001 & 2002 Six Nations seasons. For Bath, season 2000/2001 ended with Catt being awarded the ‘Supporters’ Club Player of the Year’ award for an outstanding campaign where he crossed for nine tries, including a second hat-trick in the professional era against London Irish. This time Catt was selected for the Lions, only for injury to intervene and restrict him to half a match against Australia ‘A’, before a pulled calf muscle prematurely ended his tour. In a season of trouble in 2001/2002, Catt was a shining light when fit, but managed to complete only 13 matches due to a troublesome series of knocks, and this was to be the case for the next couple of years as his appearances became sporadic. Mike was a surprise selection to the 2003 England Rugby World Cup squad, but made a crucial difference in the Quarter Final win over Wales and made a telling burst in the Final to set up field position for the winning kick, after which, with the rest of the squad, he was awarded an MBE. On return to club action appearances were limited but despite that he remains a true Bath Rugby great. Mike left Bath in the summer of 2004 to sign for London Irish as a swansong to a superb career. Mike subsequently became attack coach between 2008 to 2012. From London Irish he became  backs coach to the England XV and in 2016 he became the attack coach to the Italy XV.

Bath Rugby Appearances: 1992/1993 – 2003/2004: 221(8)

Bath Rugby Points: 842 – 65t, 106c, 86p, 14dg

Bath Rugby Friendly Appearances 2000/2001 – to date: 5

Bath Rugby Friendly Points 2000/2001 – to date: 5 – 1t

British Lions Test Appearances: 1

British Lions Appearances: 7

British Lions Points: 13 – 2t, 1p

England Record: 65 caps: 1994 – Wal (rep), Can (rep), 1995 – Ire, Fra, Wal, Sco, Arg (WC), Ita (WC), WS (WC), Aus (WC), NZ (WC), Fra (WC), SA, WS, 1996 – Fra, Wal, Sco, Ire, Ita, Arg, 1997 – Wal, Arg (1), Aus, Aus, NZ (1), SA, 1998 – Fra, Wal (rep), Ire, Aus (rep), SA, 1999 – Sco, Fra, Wal, Aus, Can (rep), Ton (WC – rep), Fiji (WC), SA (WC – rep), 2000 – Ire, Fra, Wal, Ita, Sco, SA (1), SA (2), Aus, Arg, 2001 – Wal, Ita, Sco, Fra, Ire, Aus, Rom (rep), SA, 2003 – Sam (WC – rep), Uru (WC), Wal (WC – rep), Fra (WC), Aus (WC), 2004 – Wal (rep), Fra (rep), NZ (2), Aus

England Points: 142 – 7t, 16c, 22p, 3dg


M. Catt





195 – 21t, 18c,   10p, 8dg



175 – 14t, 30c,   13p, 2dg



65 – 5t, 5c, 9p,   1dg



303 – 8t, 53c, 54p



20 – 4t



45 – 9t



13 – 2t, 1dg



16 – 2t, 2dg





842 – 65t, 106c, 86p, 14dg

Signed From: Eastern Province (South Africa)

Transferred To: London Irish


This page was added on 06/10/2014.

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