Our friends at @RugbyBath have written this blog before the massive game tonight between them and @RugbySaracens.
We met David Wilson – A World Class Scrummager, one that is instrumental both for Bath and England.
Bath are well known for their talented running backs but they also now have one of the strongest and most physically aggressive packs in the country. David Wilson is a vital member of that Bath pack and a player who is not only excelling at club level but also for his country. Having joined Bath Rugby from Newcastle Falcons in 2009 Wilson has been an instrumental player in the improvement of the set piece at Bath. In a recent interview with the BBC, Mike Ford, when asked about Wilson, was quoted as saying “I’d put him in the top three Tight-Heads in the World.”
“He’s a World-class Scrummager and is now England’s number one tight head prop”
Through the signings of other experienced international forwards such as Rob Webber, Paul James and Dave Attwood, Bath have managed to create a pack that are recognised throughout the Aviva Premiership as one of the toughest group of forwards to come up against. Leicester, a club well known for its pedigree up front, were embarrassed by Bath two weeks ago at the Recreation Ground and although the back line took a lot of plaudits for the performance, many sighted the performances of Wilson, James and Webber as the reason Bath were able to establish such dominance against the Tigers.
Wilson tells me that of course a 45 – 0 scoreline is an unusual score to achieve in a game of rugby and one that of course brings its own pressure with it. This Friday night will be Bath’s first home game since that sensational result against Leicester Tigers and with it brings huge levels of expectations from the Bath Faithful who, if there was any doubt, now appreciate the potential of Mike Ford’s side.
Saracens are the visitors to The Rec this Friday night and hold an impressive record when it comes to recent meetings with the West Country side. Having won their last 5 games at the Recreation Ground they will prove a stern test for Bath who are already being seen by many as a top 4 side. Saracens also remain the only unbeaten team left in the Aviva Premiership and will be wanting to keep it that way when they face Bath.
Wilson told me that Bath of course need to be beating sides like Saracens if they are to be seen as contenders for the top 4 but ultimately one of the overall aims of the club is to be seen as one of the top 2 teams in the country.
The fact the game is on a Friday night is one that could also work in Bath’s favour. Wilson explained that a London based club like Saracens will either be disrupted through travelling on the day or staying in an hotel which can of course interfere with their preparation and overall routine leading up to the game.
Wilson will be running out for his 100th appearance in the Blue, Black and White this Friday night and says one of the team’s main aims will be to deal with Saracens kicking game, which is an impressive aspect of the side. The overall line speed and work at the breakdown is another area of Saracens game that Bath will be trying to neutralise if they are to come out on top at the Rec.
Walking through Farleigh House and admiring the set up the club now have at their disposal is impressive to say the least. You can clearly see the ambition of the club which is exciting for players and fans alike. Improvements in the Bath scrum are due to many reasons including Neal Hatley, Wilson tells me. Hatley, who joined Bath in 2012 from London Irish, has been credited as one of the main reasons for Bath’s marked improvement at the set piece.
Another key component of Bath’s recent rise is the strength in depth the club now have at their disposal. In past seasons absences of key players like Francois Louw, Matt Garvey and Matt Banahan would have impacted both results and performances. However the club now have players who are more than capable of not only filling in for injured players but in fact making the shirt their own.
Wilson not only says that Bath’s squad depth is impressive but that the development of the side is one of the main reasons why players such as Henry Thomas want to join the club. Not only a colleague at club level, Thomas is also in the running for a starting spot both for club and country alongside David Wilson. Wilson speaks highly of Thomas who he says is a player who’s definitely one for the future. We lose no quality when guys like Henry come off the bench and onto the field which is great to see. The addition of International talent brings out the best in the squad as a whole, and of course brings with it greater competition for places.
Another one of Wilson’s International colleagues, Alex Corbisiero, this week announced that sadly he will be unable to play rugby until 2015 due to a shoulder injury caused whilst playing against Bath last Saturday.
A lot of injuries are purely luck of the draw and so it’s quite hard to prevent them as they can occur at any given time during a game. However of course rest and rehabilitation improves the recovery time taken after an injury Wilson tells me.
When players are playing so aggressively, like Bath did against Leicester, there is always the greater chance of injury which was proved when both Geoff Parling and Tom Youngs were forced to leave the field of play after picking up an injury.
The RFU recently announced that Stuart Lancaster and the rest of his England coaching set up would be continuing to manage the national side until 2020. A vital member of Lancaster’s plans, Wilson is glad that Stuart and the rest of the coaching team are staying put.
Stuart Lancaster adds a different dimension that not necessarily other professional rugby coaches would notice. Lancaster has also brought in other influences to talk to players including Golfers, Footballers and Motivational Speakers. Its a set up I’m proud to be involved in and one that I very much enjoy being a part of Wilson told me.
Wilson speaks highly of all his team mates but it’s clear his own form is one that he’s currently pleased with. Its hard to pinpoint one aspect of my game that I am looking to improve but ultimately I’d just like to be putting in good performances and playing well consistently, he said. We didn’t play that well against Northampton, however the second half performance shows the fightback and mindset we have as a team.
David Wilson’s work around the breakdown, and with the ball in hand, has been noted as areas of his game he has developed with Bath and one of his many qualities that have labelled him a World Class player. One aim he has for the future when it comes to his overall game is to become quicker in those sorts of situations without losing any of his bulk.
Many thanks again to David Wilson for taking time out of training to speak to Rugbyunited.
Article written by Stephen Trenchard
Twitter – @trenchianiooo