With 2015 nearly here and marking the half-way point in the season, we caught up with Club captain, Stuart Hooper, to get his thoughts on Bath Rugby's season so far.
The way we've improved as a team this season has impressed me the most.
When I take away the actual results and our league position, I look at how the guys have come in every day with a willingness to learn and a willingness to get better each day. That's what we need to keep doing. If you stop learning you'll be in trouble.
Every single player in the squad is on the same page.
For me, a good indicator of that was when we had nine guys involved in international rugby in the Autumn. That in itself is absolutely fantastic, but once those guys went away, we picked up 13 out of a possible 15 points in the Premiership. The guys who remained with the Club really stood up and created selection headaches for the coaches. You want to be having tough calls in team selection.
We're training better, harder and smarter this season.
We're having more ownership as players with regard to training and what we're doing on the pitch; learning to react to things that are happening to us. There's a real belief in the players than we can do something really good in 2014/15. The coaches do an unbelievable amount of hard work and they allow us to find out the answers for ourselves sometimes, which is the best way. It's about problem-solving on the pitch on the weekend, rather than just doing what you're told.
We've had some impressive victories this year.
We had two very decent performances against Leicester and Sarries. I was hugely proud of the boys after those games. It's special to speak to people who've been coming to the Rec for 10 or 15 years say they've seen some of the best ever Bath performances this season. Even Sale away first up, we didn't play particularly well, but that's proven to be a difficult place to go, but we went there and got the win.
There have been some good times and some to learn from.
When we look back at that Toulouse game in the Champions Cup, we're very disappointed we didn't win it. The Glasgow away game was our worst performance of the year. We didn't do ourselves justice there and we didn't play the way we know we can. It's difficult to say exactly what went wrong. I guess individually we just didn't deliver what we needed to deliver.
We realise the importance of pushing ourselves in every single game.
Whether it be going away to London Irish away and winning, or doing the same thing when Newcastle come to the Rec, we're constantly looking to push ourselves. You keep going and you don't settle on anything.
From everyone at Bath Rugby, we wish you a very Happy New Year, and we look forward to seeing you at the Rec in 2015!