Last time at the Rec, Will Britton got his first taste of first team action in the 21-8 victory over Newcastle Falcons in the Anglo-Welsh Cup. We caught up with the University of Bath captain on a memorable few weeks…
When did you find out that you were going to be involved in the Bath Rugby squad for the game against Newcastle?
I got the message from my University coach, who said come down and train at Farleigh. I was really excited about that and getting involved, but I didn’t really think much further than that. It got to the team being named and I was really excited to be involved in the squad. The next few days of training went really well and I got to the game with a mixture of nerves and excitement. As the game went on and it being 0-0 after 50 minute, I thought ‘I’m not going to get on here’ the way the game was going.
When I did get on for the last 10 minutes, it was a great experience and I enjoyed it massively.
What were you feeling when your name was called to come on to the pitch?
By that stage I got the nerves out of the way. I was quiet nervous earlier on in the game, but when the time came, I was ready to go. I felt I knew what I needed to do when I came on, and those nerves quickly turned to excitement. More than anything, if you’re sat at the Rec full of people, and your team is on top, you’re going to be excited and that’s definitely the way it was for me.
The support we have in the city is brilliant whether that’s for Bath Rugby or the University. Playing at a full Rec is something I’ve never done before – I’ve played A League and University, but it was so special having a full house. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and nothing comes close to playing at a full Rec.
It was also a big day for Miles Reid, who made his first team debut, it must have been great to share that experience with him?
In the warm-up, Miles and I passed each other a few comments, checking up on each other I suppose. We were fully aware how much it meant to each other and how special the day was. I have to give a massive congratulations to Miles - he played very well when he came on and rightly earned himself a starting place in the team for the Ospreys.
Luke Charteris was someone who supported you in your week leading up to the game, how invaluable was his advice on the training field?
I think Luke has taught me that you need to focus on every detail. If we talk about line-outs as an example, he knows every call and everyone’s position. That’s definitely something I can take back with me into my own game. It’s being aware of all the small details that impact on a bigger process.
It’s definitely pushed me on – I learnt more in the last few weeks than I ever could have imagined.
This experience has given you a little taste of the professional rugby environment, what will you take from this experience?
I just want to get better overall – I have ambitions with Bath, so that’s a big goal for me. It’s being in an environment like this and having time with the brilliant coaches and players we have here. That’s what going to develop me and turn me into a better player.
What was the reaction like from your friends and family after the game?
I was on the train to see my brother in Birmingham, and my phone was going completely mental for an hour and a half. There were so many messages from family and friends, and everyone seems so happy for me, which is brilliant. I’d like to thank everyone for their ongoing support.
Bath Rugby has been working closely with the University of Bath, just how important is that partnership?
The relationship is very important - we’re lucky enough to come and train at Farleigh quite regularly as a University team. We get some time with the Bath coaches and players, which is when you learn the most. Being anywhere from 18-21 at the University, that’s a massive opportunity for you to be pushing on and learning.
The relationship between the two has nothing but positive since it started and I’m sure it will continue that way moving
You’re captain of the University team, just how has that aided your progression?
I was made captain in my second year and it’s something that I’m massively proud of. It’s a role that I take very seriously. To be able to train, play and lead your friends is something that I find very special. It’s definitely made me a better player in not only focusing on your role, but other people too. Guiding a team through a game and that’s something I’ve tried to develop over the last couple of years, and now I’m just hoping we have a good run of games to end the season.
Tune into watch Will in action for the University of Bath v University of Exeter at Sandy Park on Wednesday 14th February (kick-off 19:45) in the BUCS Super Rugby. The game will be shown live on the FreeSports channel (Freeview channel 95/Sky channel 424).