Bath Rugby's leading tryscorer Matt Banahan talks Leicester Tigers and playing in front of a record-breaking crowd this weekend at the Rec.
Playing in front of a record-breaking crowd this weekend will be special
It's huge for you as a player, especially when you get to those dark moments where you're on your own tryline. You talk about it in football, you talk about it in cricket, you talk about it in rugby: the louder your home fans can be, the more it spurs you on – chasing kicks, when you want to run that little bit harder. There will be a lot more noise this Saturday.
My favourite Bath-Tigers memory isn't as a player
In our last home game of the 2012/13 season, Francois Louw scored that diving try which gave us a 27-26 victory. I didn't play in it, but it was a great spectacle; being on the sidelines and seeing how much it meant to the supporters.
Both teams have a proud pedigree
We're two clubs that have historically competed for silverware. It's been Leicester over the last five to ten years, and it was Bath prior to that. People still regard this fixture as one between the top-two most successful clubs in England.
You have to bring your A game
Against teams like Tigers, you're playing against boys who are challenging at international level – some of the best players in the world. Hopefully this weekend I'll be performing at my best.
Getting a foothold is key against Tigers
One of the things they structure their game around is a solid platform which gets teams going backwards. A great scrum and lineout has brought them success in previous years. When we've played well against them we've matched them and that's what we've got to do this weekend if we want to get a result. If we get space, our backs can get on top of theirs.
Cockerill is a big factor
Like having a consistent nine and ten throughout the season, you're always going to have good go-forward in the team if you've had a long-term coach. When you've got someone like Richard Cockerill, a stalwart of Leicester, who brings a style of rugby that's been proven to work and still works, you're going to be able to keep hold of top-quality players.
Why we've done well against Tigers
We've done well through the powerful and athletic forwards our coaches have brought in. You need to at least get parity in the forwards against top teams, because that's where their platform comes from: you steal their ball and disrupt their scrum, you get a better hold on the game. That's what we've done over the last couple of years and long may that continue.
Early days for Bath
It's too early to say whether this is a new chapter in the Club's history, but we're definitely on the up. The Club is growing, players want to move here. As an organization, Bath's profile is increasing.
Beating the Balshaw record
When I scored against Leicester at the Rec last season, I broke Iain Balshaw's Premiership try-scoring record for Bath. We won 27-20, which made for a good start to our Premiership campaign.
The last tickets for this fixture remain, including seats in our brand new North Stand.
Click here to buy online, or call 0844 448 1865 to secure your seat for the big game.
We also have limited hospitality places remaining for this game, for more details click here.