Director of Rugby Stuart Hooper addressed the media this afternoon ahead of Friday’s West Country derby against Bristol Bears.
The two sides face-off at Ashton Gate on Friday evening as the Gallagher Premiership gets back underway with Round 7. Here is what Hooper had to say ahead of the tie…
On rivalry with Bristol Bears
“We were discussing this in the coach’s room today. Back when I played my debut for Bath it was actually against Bristol and there was a pretty strong rivalry back then. It dwindled in the years between but yes, I would say it is up there now and is as strong as it’s ever been. It’s definitely there and definitely evident when we are in a Bristol week.”
On false positive scare last week
“The biggest relief is that those guys aren’t actually sick. You know a lot of people who have been sick, and I think that gets lost sometimes. After that we were frustrated because a lot has to happen so from the moment you get a phone call saying you’ve got 19 positives an awful lot has to happen in the following 48 hours.
“The contact tracing making sure everyone that needs to be is isolated and their close contacts and so forth. The staff working around this have been amazing, but it was just frustrating to be put through that situation.”
On Sam Underhill’s injury
“He is back with us to be treated and we will work with him, as we do with all of our players, to get him back fit for Bath Rugby and then Eddie’s job is to pick his England team.
“Obviously, they have a slightly different system this Six Nations, but as we have seen even before the tournament starts there are chances for people to be called up with injury. Our relationship with Sam is to be able to get him back and fit as quickly as possible and if Eddie picks him from that then that is because Sam is one of the best flankers in the world.”