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Hooper excited by Heineken Champions Cup draw

20 June 2019

We are looking ahead to welcoming the squad back for the beginning of pre-season next week in preparation for the 2019-20 Gallagher Premiership season.

Newly appointed Director of Rugby Stuart Hooper believes playing in the Champions Cup will be an encouraging test for the squad, as we are drawn into Pool 3 and will face Harlequins, Clermont and Ulster Rugby. 

The team and supporters can gear up for trips to Twickenham Stoop, Marcel Michelin and Ravenhill Stadium, and believes the sides qualification for the premier European competition has been crucial in creating excitement at the club. 

Hooper said: “It is important for us to focus on the fact that we finished in the top six and that we have been given this opportunity. It’s now about showing up every week and every time we go out in the competition is to put our best game out there. 

“When you think about the quality of players that you get to play against, the cities that you get to visit and hopefully the matches that you enjoy.”

“It has created an excitement around the club, we have seen with how close we have been in recent years on getting out of the pool and if we can be consistent in this competition then we have a good shout.”

Since learning our European opposition in the draw, Hooper believes that Bath Rugby will have be able to test themselves against some of the best sides in the Champions Cup. 

He said: “There is a real edge around playing quality opposition from all over Europe and to see the familiar face of Harlequins, who we play year-in year-out in the Premiership, and then to have two new faces in Ulster and Clermont who are two relatively new trips for us as a group and for the supporters who have not been there for a long time. 

“It’s great to be able to really challenge our game against the likes of Clermont, who are a tremendously well-rounded rugby team and have a good balance between the dominance of their forwards combined with the flair of their backs. 

“Ulster who play a fantastic brand of rugby over in Northern Ireland and it is a really exciting prospect of pitching our game against theirs and hopefully the occasion and the level of that will be huge.”

KNOCK-OUT STAGE THE TARGET

“For us, it’s absolutely about going out into the games with that excitement with the determination to get out for the group and progress through the competition and into the excitement of the knock-out stages. 

“We have flirted with it in the last couple of years in different ways, but we haven’t quite managed to make that step and get out of the pool. For us we are going to go out there and attack it and enjoy the opportunity to play in the competition.”

CLUB AMBITION 

“The people and players that we have brought into the organisation and the prospect of playing in the Champions Cup is a really appealing aspect and we bring in people that want to improve and better themselves and test themselves against the very best and that’s what being in the Champions Cup is about. 

“It is privilege to wear the Blue, Black and White jersey. Whether we are home or away we will have a group of lads ready to run out and put everything into competing for our club”

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