Bath Rugby’s utility forward is confident that the side can maintain their rise up the Gallagher Premiership table and achieve a play-off berth.
Mike Williams has played a key role in the success of the Blue, Black and White set piece so far this season. The lock praised his fellow clubmen on their dedication during one of the longest stretches of competitive games this season in global rugby.
He said: “It has been a really tough period, especially when you come off the back of a long and challenging pre-season. Full credit to the lads on getting through those games and also to the Performance Department for keeping us fit and healthy during that period. It’s testament to the work we, as a whole group, put in away from the pitch.
“When you sit and look back at it, a block of nineteen games is really rare and you don’t often come across that stretch very often. It shows just how far the game of rugby has come, and that there is the appetite from the supporters for that amount of rugby. Getting those much-needed ten days off in between that stretch and the next block was ideal to recharge and refocus.
“It was good to get away and get some sun in the break and it felt great to get back out there and get a win against Worcester Warriors and last weekend's result against Harlequins.
“I have played a big part in the squad throughout the season so far and I am very grateful for that. I’ve had to manage some niggles here and there, but I just want to keep playing well for the team, whether that be in the matchday 23 at the weekend or helping the team prepare if I am not involved.”
Last weekend’s 19-12 win over Harlequins demonstrated just how competitive the Gallagher Premiership is going into the second half of the season. The Blue, Black and White have claimed twelve points from their last three matches and the points up for grabs are crucial, with just four points separating second and sixth places in the table.
“The Premiership table is so close and the differences between the sides are so small, if we get a five-point win against Bristol then we could put ourselves in second place so that just shows how close this competition is.
“We have given ourselves that chance with a really strong defensive performance last time out. We still have a long way to go until the Final at Twickenham, and it’s a cliché but we are taking each game as they come until June 20th.
“We have looked at the blocks of games coming up and there is a massive positive for us. It’s going to be very different compared to what we have just experienced together.
“We have four games on, then a break, then back into two and then three, so we are taking each block as they come. It gives us more time to look at games, analyse our opposition and attack those Premiership games, and hopefully pick up some wins.”
Williams joined Bath Rugby ahead of the 2019/20 season from Premiership rivals Leicester Tigers and says it has been an easy transition into life in the West Country. The forward admitted that former Tiger and current teammate Freddie Burns played a big part in his move.
“I knew a lot of the guys before coming down to the Club. I had a good relationship with Freddie Burns at Leicester Tigers before the move and he was really influential in me joining Bath.
“We were tight back in Leicester and when I originally moved down, I didn’t have a place to stay so Freddie put me up for the first couple of months during pre-season. He’s certainly made my transition here a lot easier.
“I have settled in really well since moving to Bath. I spent a lot of time around the city prior to moving down because my wife and her family are from this area. It’s a vibrant city, a great place to live and I have really enjoyed it so far.
“Moving to Bath was an opportunity I couldn’t let slip. It’s such a great Club with a rich history, and I wanted the opportunity to play here. I’m also ticking on a bit so I’ve loved being able to make a life here and definitely intend to stay in the are in life after rugby.”