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Sam Underhill optimistic ahead of Harlequins encounter

9 January 2020

Bath Rugby’s Sam Underhill is confident that the Blue, Black and White can claim their first win in the Heineken Champions Cup against Harlequins on Friday evening (kick-off 19:45, live on BT Sport).

Despite being out of the competition, the backrow forward believes that the game is an important occasion for the team to develop and grow.

Underhill said: “It is another opportunity. There is no bitterness about previous results and there is nothing to gain from this game in terms of points or qualification, but it is a great opportunity for players to get better, it’s another opportunity to pull on a Bath shirt and it’s another opportunity to play well at the Rec.

“We will gain what we can from these games and then take that back into the Premiership and that will only bode well for us as we look to keep up momentum in the league. Momentum is good to have in the Premiership, but we take things one week at a time, it will give us confidence, but we need to be able to back up performances. 

“There is never a game that is won for you. We have to turn up every week so for us it will be a case of having the chance to do that again.” 

Bath Rugby boast some impressive stats at the set piece this season after focusing on this area as a platform to build their game. Underhill believes the side need to be prepared for a challenging Harlequins side that will test the Blue, Black and White.

He said: “It is going to be a huge set piece battle. For anyone that has been down there, the pitch at the Rec isn’t the fastest track in the world, so line-out and scrum and the kicking battle will be a pivotal battle in the game. 

“If we can get good ball and keep it and put the opposition under pressure, then generally you will be rewarded with points so possession and territory will be a big part. Defence will be a huge part of the game because of the nature of side that Harlequins are. For us it is how we can impose ourselves on the scoreboard, if we can get on there early and keep it ticking then that is the best chance for us to nullify them and their attack.” 

The 23-year-old is aware of the challenges that lie ahead for the Blue, Black and White and is keen to rectify the reverse result against Harlequins in Round Two of the Champions Cup. 

Underhill continued: “We are disappointed with how we performed in the last fixture against Harlequins at the Stoop. I want the side to put that right as much as we can against them and show how we have gotten better since then. It is important for us as a group to show that to each other.

“We know that we have more in us and it’s important that we are able to show that to the supporter and so that we are able to build confidence in each other as a group is key. The crowd at the Rec against Sale Sharks is the best that I have ever heard it which was awesome, and we are extremely lucky to have such a great fanbase.

“We notice it at away games as well and we are grateful for that and we also want to be able to give another good performance to those supporters at the Rec. They are the people we play for, so it’s a good opportunity for us to go and showcase to them how good we can be in front of the home supporters and rectify our wrongs from the previous encounter with Harlequins.” 

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