Interview: Bath captain Stuart Hooper

Sports Mole catches up with Bath captain Stuart Hooper at the launch of the new Aviva Premiership season to get his thoughts on the campaign ahead.

Bath get the new Aviva Premiership season underway on Friday when they make the long trip to newly-promoted Newcastle Falcons.

The West Country outfit will be looking to improve on their performance last year as they finished in seventh place in the table.

Sports Mole caught up with club captain Stuart Hooper at the season launch at Twickenham Stadium to get his thoughts on the months ahead.

How has pre-season been for the squad?

"It's pretty good at the moment. Pre-season has been good, a few weeks of really hard work but we've got some really good new signings and everyone is buzzing to get the season started."

Is there a nervousness in the squad at the start of the season or is everyone just raring to go?

"There's always a bit of nervous energy, you have these few weeks of revving yourself up ready for the onslaught. We've got some real good players, expectations are high and everyone is ready to get started."

Has anyone in particular caught your eye during training?

"A lot of the new guys have come in and really put their hands up. Matt Garvey has come in and done really well, George Ford is always out on the pitch training, a tremendous work ethic. They've been recruited for how good they are but they've also been recruited for their character."

How about the opening fixture away at Newcastle Falcons? Do you consider them to be a bit of an unknown quantity?

"It's exciting to be kicking the Premiership off, to be honest. It will be a tough game, no doubt. They've got the extra dimension of being the new guys and wanting to prove a point so it will be a good challenge for us."

Do you get bored over the summer?

"We only had about four weeks off so you don't have a great deal of time to get bored. I've got three young boys as well so they keep me on my toes!"

What about your personal aims for the season ahead?

"The best thing about the club is that there's a real depth to the squad so it's a real challenge to get picked every week. I want to be in the team as much as possible and hopefully lead us to some great wins."

Is this the most competitive set of players that you have seen at the club?

"Definitely, without a doubt. It's by far the most competitive squad I've been involved in. There is literally competition for every single position and no one is resting on their laurels. I see that as being really good for the club."

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