Bath Rugby and England centre Kyle Eastmond - in his own words.
I got a bit of stick for winning September's Aviva Premiership Player of the Month.
I was happy with getting it, though. I didn’t know I’d won it until I was in full kit, just about to head into a photoshoot where they then presented me with the trophy. Thankfully, I got my own back on one of the guys who gave me stick...
My try against Leicester Tigers was a team effort
It got awarded Try of the Month, but all I did was put the ball down at the end. It was great work from George Ford and Jonathan Joseph, and even greater work from our captain, Stuart Hooper, to get there in support – people forget about that. It was a good team try which I managed to be on the end of.
JJ and I have worked hard to build an instinctive partnership
I feel like a lot of it is just down to hard work. We’ve worked on combinations to the point where we’re now starting to understand what the other is doing. As an example: the break he made against Saracens. It’s just a case of knowing what he’s going to do when he’s got the ball. It’s not just JJ, it’s the other backs like George. It’s starting to become a bit more instinctive, and continuity in selection always helps.
I never ask my coaches how I can nail down an England spot
Of course I want to play for England, but I only think about how I can get better week by week for Bath – which in turn will help me with England. Here at Bath we speak all the time with the coaches about how we can improve as individuals.
Being a centre isn’t just about doing the glamorous stuff
Neal Hatley, our forwards coach, teaches me a lot about the defensive breakdown; fine-tuning my game management to determine which breakdowns to get involved in and which to avoid. Choosing the wrong one can compromise your defence. Hats also gets me asking questions about whether I can organise the forwards more from a defensive point of view. For instance, am I moving them around quick enough to compete for the ball?
I’m happy that my old team, St Helens, won the Super League Grand Final
I’m sure the European final at Twickenham this season will be just as intense as the Grand Final we’ve just seen at Old Trafford.
We’re ready to face Europe’s best in the European Rugby Champions Cup
You can’t keep putting it off. As a club, we work hard to put as much detail into preparing for matches as possible. We’ve started really well, and we’ve won some really big games playing decent rugby. It feels a bit different, but you can’t get carried away.
I’ve never played in the top European competition
I’m excited for the European Rugby Champions Cup, because it’s what you play for. Glasgow are a very good team: they’ve got two British Lions in the backs, their centres are very good players and their forwards are tough and ferocious. I’ve watched them play a lot. They’re second in the Pro12 and they’ve made to two finals in the last couple of years.
If you don’t come back from a tour of New Zealand a better player, you’re doing something wrong.
I really enjoyed my time there with England over the summer. A poor 40 minutes aside in the third Test, we played well, and off the field I’ve got some really fond memories of the place.