Zach Mercer was in stunning form for Bath Rugby as they advanced to the Challenge Cup semi-finals with a 26-13 victory over London Irish.
The Number 8 made a huge 17 carries – 15 of which had gainline success – made 11 tackles and scored a try to boot as the Blue, Black and Whites reach their first last-four encounter for four years.
Leading 19-13 late into the second period, Mercer was pleased with how his side stuck to the task at hand before his finish sealed a well-earned win.
“I’m really happy with how the boys dug in, it was an outstanding effort,” Mercer said post-match with blood visible from a cut above his right eyebrow.
“If you look at the team on paper, we’ve got the ability to play. We wanted to earn the right first so we had to play through them and I thought the first minutes we were direct, played straight through them to earn the right to do what we wanted to do later on in the game.
“It was a tough contest, but it was about sticking the systems, sticking to what we know. This year we’ve been guilty of nodding off, but we didn’t do that in the second half and showed what a quality outfit we are.
“Winning a European quarter-final is massive and we’ve got a semi in three weeks’ time so for us, we’re really excited by what is to come.”
Mercer will head to Montpellier at the end of the current campaign but is very much fully committed to the Bath cause.
His display under the lights at the Rec earned him the Man of the Match award and he hopes for at least two more similar Bath outings before the season is out.
He said: "I woke up this morning and took a couple of minutes to myself thinking it could be the last time I put a European jersey on for Bath.
“I don’t want it to end just yet and I'm very happy I've got hopefully two more shots at it. I’m excited for what is to come with this group.”