Nathan Catt admits he can stop worrying about his future and start concentrating on returning to the peak of his powers after he signed a fresh deal with Bath Rugby earlier this week.
The loosehead has had a frustrating time of it ever since being invited to England’s summer tour of New Zealand last year, as neck surgery – and a subsequent shoulder problem – meant last season was a lost one.
But his importance to Bath has certainly not been lost to the coaching staff in the meantime as alongside fellow loosehead Nick Auterac – who has enjoyed a fine start to the campaign – he has been rewarded with a new contract.
So far Catt is easing back into action with two replacement appearances in Aviva Premiership Rugby, and he is itching to draw a line in the sand.
“I was delighted when the offer was received, I’ve been here since I left school. Having not been able to play rugby for a while I thought I could be under pressure, but it is a weight off my mind now and I can just concentrate on getting back to my best and performing.,” he said.
“Bath have invested a lot of time into me and it’s been good to know that they believe in what I can do.
“It’s a young pack and guys like Nick (Auterac) have done unbelievably well for the last year and half, there’s a huge amount of potential here and we all need to keep pushing on.
“Neal (Hatley) has been terrific for the whole pack, as a scrum we have been doing pretty well for a number of years now and he is a big part of that.
“It was a long time out but it was an injury that had to be resolved. It’s been more of a frustration than ever fearing I wouldn’t play again, to be honest.
“I knew it would get better but it was the toughest time by far I’ve had in a rugby environment.
“It’s just about trying to get back up to speed. We try our hardest to recreate the game in practice, but the first time I stepped back out there in a match I was in pieces for a week!”
The disruption of the Rugby World Cup can partly be to blame for Bath’s indifferent start to the season, having suffered their third league defeat in five to high-flying Leicester Tigers last weekend.
But Catt says that there is no point in fishing for excuses and believes Bath will grow into the form that saw them reach the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final last May.
“We’ve got a lot of strength in depth in a lot of positions and the club have worked hard to get that balance of squad – it does make it competitive, which is what you want,” the 27-year-old added.
“When you have a few players missing, it takes a bit of time to get back up and running, and hopefully that’ll make a big difference come the back end of the season.”
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