TOP BAR - Fixtures

Guy Mercer eager to make up for lost time as Bath Rugby skipper

Guy Mercer

On the same day that Guy Mercer was announced as Bath Rugby’s new club captain, he also found out he was facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines with an ankle injury.

The agony and the ecstasy of that day have been played out quite a few times over the last few weeks as the openside flanker has battled to return to full fitness.

And after getting his first minutes of the season under his belt against Sale Sharks last weekend in Aviva Premiership Rugby, the skipper is eager to make up for lost time.

He re-joins a Bath side that have impressed all with their start to the season, they have won five of their first six games to sit third in the table overall.

And with Todd Blackadder at the helm there is an air of calm about the place that did not exist last season as the West Country outfit struggled all campaign and ended down in ninth.

But Mercer has been extremely impressed with former Crusaders head coach Blackadder who has steadied the ship despite a host of injuries in the back row and the centres in particular.

“It was lovely to get back involved, when you cannot get on the pitch it is tough and with the team playing well and winning games it is even more frustrating to be on the sidelines,” said the 26-year-old.

“The timing was as bad as it could have been – the day I was announced as captain was also the same day I was told I was going to be out for a few weeks.

“There has been a bit of stuff to do behind the scenes but you want to do your talking out on the pitch.

“It has been a great start and we would have certainly taken it if you had offered it.

“There is a positive environment at the club and you always reap the benefits of that.

“Todd is a very considered bloke, he takes in information and goes away to think about it and more often than not comes back with a positive way to look at things.

“To give one example, we have had a few injuries in the back row particularly, for some people that might be a huge issue – we are missing this bloke or that bloke – but for Todd is about how excited he is to see someone like Zach Mercer come in and show what they can do.

“And it has worked, Zach has been immense and that is about the great faith shown in the players – we may have lost a couple of internationals but the squad has stood up.”

Next up for the Blue, Black and White is a European adventure in the Challenge Cup and Blackadder’s side begin their campaign in the south of France against Pau on Saturday.

And Mercer is hoping for more game time for himself and a strong start to a European campaign that could be seen by some as their best chance of silverware this season.

“We have not really talked about goals as such, but we are unbelievably excited for a new competition,” he added.

“It’s nice to now be able to put that block of Premiership games to bed and focus on something new. And we have got some cool fixtures to look forward to, Bristol will be a great derby and Pau this weekend is somewhere not many of us have gone either.

“That will be a new challenge – we have used most of the squad already this season but I am sure there will be a bit more rotation.

“But we don’t go into any games thinking we will take it easy, we want to win anything we are involved in.

“And personally I want to get out on the field as much as I can, playing a big physical side like Sale it was a good chance to see what I could do.”

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