Despite having to watch his Bath Rugby teammates light up the international stage from the sidelines, Kyle Eastmond is refusing to rue his misfortune as he looks to respond in style in Aviva Premiership Rugby.
The centre was initially named in England’s squad for the Six Nations only for the recurrence of a shoulder injury to rule him out of the opening clash with Wales.
Northampton Saints’ Luther Burrell seized his chance in Eastmond’s absence, starting all five games alongside the 25-year-old’s regular centre partner Jonathan Joseph, who dazzled defences to finish as top try scorer for the tournament.
With Dave Attwood, Anthony Watson and George Ford catching the eye with a series of impressive performances, Eastmond admits confidence should not be in short supply at The Rec for the rest of the season.
And while Bath’s much-vaunted midfield axis is set to torment Aviva Premiership Rugby defences once again, Eastmond is focusing on helping his side to glory before turning his attention to international honours.
“On a personal note it was tough to be on the sidelines but these things happen and I’ll get back on the horse and play as well as I can for Bath,” he said.
“It was great to see Jonathan Joseph doing so well but not just JJ, all the Bath lads like Anthony [Watson], Dave [Attwood] and George [Ford] were impressive.
“The France game was an incredible match even if it was sad to see us miss out by so few points but the guys did unbelievably well and we can only improve.
“I’m not one to have my confidence knocked back by missing out and it’s always been about your club form to get into the national team so I’m concentrating on that and hopefully I’ll be back in contention.
“It’s good when you’re in a midfield that enjoys playing together and complements each other, which me, George and Jonathan do even though we’re very different players.
“But it’s not just us three, everybody here at Bath is playing well and working hard.”
While the attacking talents of Bath’s backline have drawn a lot of plaudits this year, Eastmond believes their frugal defence that has conceded the joint-fewest amount of points is just as important.
And with Mike Ford’s side still in pursuit of a home Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-final and glory in Europe, the former rugby league player insists Bath’s approach means they are ready for any challenge.
“Our defence is the foundation of our game and we work hard on it with our defence coach Neal Hatley because it doesn’t matter how good your attack is if you can’t defend,” he added.
“Obviously we know the history of Leinster and it will be a big challenge but that’s still a week and a half away so we are focusing on the Premiership first before turning our attentions to Europe.
“We don’t really look that far ahead as a team and just try to prepare as best we can for each team we face.
“If we carry on that way then clearly we would love to be in the play-offs and hopefully with a home semi-final but we’ll be prepared for any side.”
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