Press Notes | Bristol Bears | Gallagher Premiership | R18

4 May 2021

Bath Rugby return to Gallagher Premiership action with a West Country derby against Bristol Bears on Saturday.

Director of Rugby Stuart Hooper spoke to the media ahead of the match.

On the Challenge Cup exit…

The disappointment is real. You have to feel that and then that has to prepare you to move forward. Whenever you get to these points of failure you can go two ways: you can go down the ‘feel sorry for yourself’ route or you can go down the route of ‘we are going to be better from this’. Obviously we want to go down the ‘we are going to be better from this’ route but you can’t just expect that to happen; there needs to be a decent process in place and part of that is feeling the pain of it. Feeling the pain of the opportunity that is in front of you that is now no longer there.

We’ve been through that with the boys and had a decent amount of time to reflect on those feelings. Now it’s about putting it into practice and how we do get better from it.

On the remainder of the season…

We’re obviously still in with a shout of qualifying for the semi-finals and that’s something we came into the season with the ambition to do. That won’t change until that goes away, if it does. 

Of course, there is a game-by-game focus and even more so after a disappointing loss. There has to be a re-focus on us and what we do going into Bristol. Beyond that the sights are still set where they were at the start of the year and Bristol is the next challenge to us.

On Bristol Bears…

They’re an outstanding rugby team. They have a decent balance with the way they play the game and the way they find answers. There always going to be seen as the team that can score some fantastic tries and I have no doubt that is down to the preparation and structure they have in place.

I know they lost to Exeter last time out, but they are on a good roll. Our opportunity against them is to impose our game and not just try and stop them. We’re excited by the challenge of playing against them as where they are in the league is not by accident.

On injuries…

The players have recovered well and are in a good spot after a physical game. The lads have got over the bumps and bruises quite quickly and we’re in a good place selection wise moving into Bristol.

Rhys is in full team training and in contention but has only just got back into full team training. You have to balance the risk and reward at this stage of the season. The biggest thing is how Rhys responds physically to training week and make a decision at the backend of the week.

Tom de Glanville will be available for selection, but Josh Matavesi is behind both. He’s running but we’re talking a few weeks for him.

Ruaridh didn’t need an operation on his pectoral injury. It will keep him out, most likely, for the rest of this season.


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