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Preview: David Sisi

24 October 2014

David Sisi, Bath Rugby's starting openside tomorrow against Toulouse, speaks about his new role in the back row and his excitement for taking on the four-time champions. 

I made my senior professional debut at openside – against Sam Warburton.

London Irish had drawn Cardiff Blues in the Heineken Cup and I was moved from eight to seven for my first big match. It’s ironic that I’m playing in Europe again and I’m getting a run-out at seven – this time against Thierry Dusautoir!

You’ve got to make a lot more front-up tackles as an openside.

It’s a position I actually enjoy. Ultimately, you just have to go out there and do the job. As a number eight or six you have a lot more ball in hand. Having said that, though, the way Bath play is that we try to get all our back row players involved.

Last season was a bit gutting for me on a personal level.

I suffered a huge injury in my first pre-season with the Club. It came against Bristol Rugby and I was out for six months. I was really glad to come back, getting my first start against Leicester Tigers in the LV= Cup at Welford Road [in Bath’s 35-17 win]. If there’s one place you want to make a comeback, it’s there.

My loan spell at Leeds last season did me a world of good.

I settled in really well. Leeds, or Yorkshire Carnegie as they are now, treated me really well. I just needed to be out on the pitch after such a long-term injury; I needed to be playing regularly to get into a bit of rhythm, and Leeds provided that, no questions asked. They played a great brand of rugby and we were unlucky to lose by just three points at the business end of the Championship season to London Welsh.

I’m the lightest weight I’ve been in three years.

Pre-season was awesome. The detail the Strength and Conditioning coaches go into here is on another level. I sat down with them at the start of the year and they said ‘this is how we see you developing, this is the kind of player we’d like you to be’. They want me to play to my strengths: I’m a ball-carrier. They don’t want me too light that I can’t do that, but at the same time they want me to have an impact in other areas.

I broke my hand on Leroy Houston’s shoulder.

It was the last week of pre-season and we were training against Bristol Rugby. I couldn’t believe it. I went to jump at the lineout and I accidentally punched Leroy on my way up and broke my hand in two places! Leroy didn’t even notice it had happened.

The victory against Saracens was a true team performance.

Players who, like me, were coming off the bench, had to continue with the same momentum that the starting players had gathered – which was quite considerable. Having just missed out on making the team that beat Leicester the previous week, I was desperate to play in that one.

I feel nothing but excitement going into tomorrow’s match.

I was 17 or 18 when I was confronted with that Cardiff Blues side full of Welsh internationals. I was pretty daunted playing at seven against Warburton, but three years on I’ve got so much more experience. Facing guys like Dusautoir or Imanol Harinordoquy (a player I admire massively) is why I play rugby.

Being a Southampton football fan lifted my spirits slightly last weekend.

I was gutted about our performance against Glasgow Warriors, and as I was walking out of the changing rooms post-match, Henry Thomas told me that Southampton had beaten Sunderland 8-0. I couldn’t believe it. 

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