Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text WILTS GAZETTE to 80360 or email us
BATH RUGBY: England star Attwood has lofty ambition
BEING voted the player of the season by your club peers and winning acclaim for his performances on the international stage added up to a pretty good 2012-13 campaign, but Dave Attwood has no intention of succumbing to any form of ‘second-season syndrome.’
The consensus of players, coaches and supporters was that the 6ft 7in 26-year-old lock forward was Bath’s shining light last season – an assessment England coach Stuart Lancaster clearly agreed with as he handed the former Gloucester man a recall from the international wilderness on the summer tour to Argentina.
It was a chance Attwood grabbed with both hands, his displays enough to convince Lancaster to hand him a place in his elite squad for the new campaign.
But the player himself is the first to recognise that his second chance only came about because of his excellent club form and he is determined to replicate that in the 2013-14 campaign.
“The plaudits were thick and fast for me last year which is really exciting at this point in my career and another opportunity in the England squad, but I can’t lose sight of the fact that I’m only there because things are going well at my club,’’ he said.
“It’s been a great summer and a great season really. 2012-13, 13-14, that boundary has been really strong for me.
“Last season, my rugby in terms of Bath went really well and in the summer I was in a strong vein of form and had the opportunity to go to Argentina and that’s culminated in my introduction into the England EPS squad.
“I certainly felt a bit like I closed a chapter (a stamping ban and knee injury cost him a place in Martin Johnson’s 20011 World Cup squad).
“I stopped thinking ‘when I’m going to get back in’ and started thinking ‘ how can I move things forward at Bath, let’s get that back on track. Let’s think about the performance side’. “Seemingly it was the right thing to do.
“It takes a long time once you’ve fallen out of the mix. It’s takes time to get yourself moving and the way tight five forwards work is it needs game time and it needs a culmination of performances over time, building momentum.
“That’s where I am now and it’s quite an exciting frontier really.’’
A focussed Attwood is clear about where he needs to develop his game.
“I’m looking at leading from the front a bit more,’’ he added. “That’s the next stage for me, to develop the leadership side of my game.
“It’s about moving that to the next level and helping Stuart (Hooper, Bath captain) in a supporting role.
“Last season was great but it would be easy to sit down and tick along for a bit. The really exciting thing for me would be to push on to the next level and look for that kind of award again.
“I know what it’s like to perform on an international stage and I’ve played a lot in the Premiership so I can offer a lot in terms of leadership and it’s important that side of my game comes through.
“It needs to be that for Bath and England.’’
NEWS OF BATH’S AVIVA PREMIERSHIP CLASH WITH NEWCASTLE FALCONS ON WILTSHIRETIMES.CO.UK. DON’T MISS OUR TWO-PAGE BATH SPECIAL IN FRIDAY’S WILTSHIRE TIMES @WTSport