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Nixon looking to push on with Bath Rugby

29 May 2019

Ahead of his promotion to the first team for the 2019/20 season, Sam Nixon is looking to push on after making an impact in the crucial victories against Wasps and Leicester Tigers, which secured sixth place and Heineken Champions Cup rugby.

Nixon joined the Club from Plymouth Albion in 2017 and is eager to add to his nine first team appearances after missing a large chunk of the 2017/18 season through injury. With a clean bill of health, the 6ft 4, 19 stone prop is looking to continue his development in the Blue, Black and White.

Nixon said: “It’s my third season with the Club - it’s been an up and down ride with injury, but to learn off the lads here has been great for my development. We have had some highs and lows but the Club is heading in an exciting direction.”

“My scrummaging and set piece work has come on well over the last 12 months, so for me it’s about working on my game so I can offer more around the pitch. If I can do that, that will hopefully open up more opportunities in the first team.”

The tighthead did not look at all out of place as he locked horns with a powerful Wasps front row at the Rec in the penultimate game of the campaign. A week later, Nixon came off the bench once again to help Bath close out a last minute 31-32 triumph at Welford Road.

The 22 year-old was delighted to play his part in the finale and admits that securing that top six berth was vital to everyone concerned with the Club.

“To get off the bench against Wasps at the Rec was pretty special. From a personal perspective, I was really happy with how the scrums and the set piece went against a team with some real quality up front. They had some big players out there and it was hugely encouraging to grind out the win.”

“It (Leicester) was an unbelievable game to be part of and a real team effort to get over the line in that second half. The bigger picture for us was getting into the Champions Cup, so to secure that for our supporters was really important. We want to be challenging against the best in Europe, so we’ve now got to make sure that we take full advantage of that next season.”   

Nixon made the transition from loosehead to tighthead 12 months ago and believes that his knowledge and versatility will give him an advantage when it comes to the bread and butter of his game.

“I went from being a loosehead in the summer to tighthead during the pre-season games. It’s gone well and I now consider myself as a tighthead that can play both positions.

“I think having that knowledge is huge in terms of being able to see what both sides of the scrum are trying to do. As a loosehead you are trying to get under the tighthead, so it pays that I can play both sides. This year it’s helped the Club out a couple of times being able to play both sides.”

With the switch to tighthead, Nixon has been able to pick the brains of some of the more experienced figures in the squad over the course of the campaign, most notably Henry Thomas and Anthony Perenise.

“With Henry (Thomas), it’s been more process driven, giving me feedback. Anthony (Perenise) has been great with making sure I’ve got everything I need and that I am prepped correctly. If there is something I haven’t been sure about, he’s made sure that I have had everything I’ve needed to be ready.”

With the arrival of Will Stuart and Christian Judge next season, Nixon is aware of the competition he will face next season, but the front rower is relishing the challenge ahead.

“There is a lot of competition for the starting spot next season and I’m looking forward to battling for my place. We’re all relatively young and having that quality day in day out will only make us better as players.

“Strength and depth is massive, but equally is getting around the two players that are going to be on the pitch because they need as much help as they can get so we can get the win on the weekend. Ultimately, we are always in competition with each other, but we have also got to help each other to get better as individuals as well as a team.”

Nixon is already excited by what lies ahead and is looking forward to the prospect of working with Neal Hatley, who will return to the Club as Forward and Defence Coach on the conclusion of England’s Rugby World Cup campaign.

“I’m very excited to work with Neal Hatley and the experience that he has to offer. He has been with the best, trained with the best and that’s why he is where he is now, so it’s good to have someone of his expertise. I think it’s important to soak up everything he has to offer - he is a very experienced coach and has pushed a number of players to the international level.”

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