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Devoto hoping to take centre stage for Bath Rugby

The versatile Ollie Devoto has filled in all over the Bath Rugby back line over the last couple of seasons.

But after shining at inside centre last weekend in his side’s dismantling of Newcastle Falcons in Aviva Premiership Rugby, the 21-year-old hopes he has finally found his calling.

Full-back and fly-half have been where Devoto has predominantly plied his trade for the Rec outfit since breaking into the side back in the 2012/13 season.

Indeed while George Ford was on England duty during the Six Nations this year, Devoto filled in at No.10 for Mike Ford’s side who are pushing for the top four with three rounds to go.

But a man of the match showing at Kingston Park last Friday night was with the No.12 shirt on his back and while he has England international Kyle Eastmond as a rival for that position, Devoto is hoping to take his chances when they come.

“It has been frustrating but as a young player you have to learn to deal with not always being in the team,” he said.

“I have been very fortunate over the last couple of years to play in a lot of games, injuries and things like that have opened up a window for me.

“And as a young player I have been fortunate to be able to play in a few different positions as well.

“But I would like to start to nail down a position now and I feel that position is inside centre.

“I was a fly-half at school and when I first came into the Bath team I was a full-back but 12 is a nice mix of those two skillsets.

“From my point of view it’s great to be involved with the guys. To be playing around guys like George (Ford) and JJ (Jonathan Joseph) in that set-up is fantastic for me.

“I didn’t really expect to be involved against Newcastle but Kyle took a bit of a knock during the week and I was absolutely ecstatic to be playing.”

Devoto has appeared in 18 league games this season but only ten of those have been starts. The pairing of Eastmond and Joseph has predominantly held sway, with Sam Burgess also vying for playing time in midfield.

Learning off someone like Eastmond in training has been a huge boost for Devoto, who burst over for a try of his own and produced a lovely delayed ball on the gain line to put Anthony Watson clear for another at Kingston Park.

And after being overlooked for the matchday squad that lost to Leinster in the European quarter-final the weekend before, Devoto was delighted with his own contribution.

“We knew it was going to be tough up there, it’s a quick surface and they fought and countered hard and we managed to keep them at arm’s length all game,” he added.

“To get back to winning ways was massive for the team, the lads were absolutely gutted about the loss in Dublin.

“They say that competition brings the best out of you and I certainly think that has been the case with me, I go into every game that I play knowing that I have to be at my very best or else I will be out the team again.

“Kyle is a class act, he has played for England a lot recently and his skillset in attack is fantastic.

“He takes the ball to the line and that is something that I have really been working and hopefully getting better at.”

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