Director of Rugby Stuart Hooper faced the media this afternoon ahead of our Heineken Champions Cup opener against Scarlets at the Rec on Saturday (kick-off 15:15, live on BT Sport 2).
On facing Scarlets two years ago
“That day they played really well and we probably overplayed that day. They had a bit of a field day through the breakdown and ended up getting a decent victory at the Rec, which was pretty tough at the time.
On reintegrating test players
“The lads came back in good form. They all had a down day on Monday, obviously, England only played on Sunday. I had spoken to them before they came back in and I think it’s important to try and reintegrate them in as quickly as possible. They all have a huge amount to give. One of the big things that we got from our guys is that they’ve got a huge amount to give and they all wanted to get back and be involved for Bath Rugby as quickly as possible, which from my point of view is exciting.
On this season and the vision ahead
“For anyone who has seen our first three games will see a development in our understanding on what makes us Bath and that is something that isn’t meant to sound wishy-washy but when you have challenges, which every team will have throughout a season, it’s important to understand what allows you to play the game that you want to play. This year when we played against Newcastle, we didn’t deliver as a group, we didn’t deliver an intensity and a physicality that when we play our best, we do.
“Then we went to Exeter and actually we did deliver the physicality that we needed but we didn’t have the accuracy around our set-piece. What we have managed to do is to put those pieces together and then obviously at Worcester there was a lot of adversity chucked at us with both of our 10s going down, but we relied on the things that make us Bath. For us as a group that identity needs to continue to be forged, whoever we play against, whatever the conditions, whatever the day, whoever is playing in our team. To be Bath, we need to see those things.”