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RUGBY: Hooper relishing impact of new boys
3:38pm Wednesday 4th September 2013 in Sport
STUART Hooper admits he is chomping at the bit to see Bath Rugby’s new international elite strut their stuff in the Aviva Premiership this season.
While lock Hooper was afforded the summer off to fully recuperate after leading Bath to seventh in the Aviva Premiership, however the same could not be said for a raft of his teammates.
England travelled to South America to take on Argentina with a host of Bath players at Stuart Lancaster’s disposal – Jonathan Joseph, Kyle Eastmond, Rob Webber, David Wilson and Dave Attwood all travelling.
And a number of Bath’s new Red Rose stars ensured they stood out from the crowd – in particular Webber and Eastmond who both scored tries as England wrapped up a 2-0 Series victory over the Pumas.
And Hooper, who will once again captain Bath this season, is adamant the club’s new crop of England stars will make for a much more dangerous Rec outfit.
“I think that was brilliant for all the guys who went away on those tours, especially the England guys,” he said.
“It was a massive opportunity for them to showcase their talents on the international stage and I think they all did fantastically well.
“And also when you have people going away with England they do come back with that new confidence, they do come back with new ideas and exposure to the game at the highest level and that can only help us so that can only help us as a club.
“Something we look to do more and more is promote our young players and get as many people as possible involved in the national squad.
“We are starting to see the fruits of that labour and long may it continue because I think we deserve it.”
Bath look to have recruited wisely as they bid to make it back to into the Heineken Cup, with Joseph, Anthony Watson and Matt Garvey all arriving from London Irish while George Ford and Mickey Young join from champions Leicester Tigers.
And despite a raft of new faces needing to bed into Bath’s style of play, Hooper believes the early signs are promising.
“It's been really good, we've recruited pretty well over the summer,” he added.
“Lots of new guys have come in at different phases as they've been away on international duty and stuff. It's been a good mix of new people and people who have not been here before.
“The guys off the pitch have worked really hard in getting the right people on board and I think that shows straight away the character of the guys that have come in have been fantastic. And obviously some really talented players as well which is what you want.”
The Aviva Premiership Rugby Season kicks off on 6, 7 and 8 September. The first matches will be crucial, to be there to support your team buy your ticket from premiershiprugby.com/tickets
DON'T MISS YOUR TWO-PAGE BATH RUGBY SEASON PREVIEW, FEATURING INTERVIEWS IN FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES WITH DIRECTOR OF RUGBY GARY GOLD, NEW SIGNINGS GEORGE FORD, JONATHAN JOSEPH AND MATT GARVEY AND ENGLAND LOCK DAVE ATTWOOD
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