Fixtures - Top Bar

Houston impressed by back-row depth at Bath Rugby

LeroyHoustonBathSar1005SB14

Bath Rugby’s back-row injury crisis may be finally starting to ease, but No. 8 Leroy Houston insists they were never tempted to hit the panic button at the Rec.

With long-term injuries to flankers Francois Louw and Matt Garvey exacerbated by Carl Fearns and Alafoti Fa’osiliva also picking up knocks, Houston has often been forced to lead a makeshift back row this year.

The 28-year-old has started all eight of his side’s Aviva Premiership Rugby matches this season to help Bath belie their injury problems with an impressive start to the campaign.

Mike Ford’s squad have since been boosted by the return of both Garvey and Fearns in the last two weeks as they prepare for a tough test against Harlequins on Friday night.

Yet Houston is adamant that the less familiar faces of Dave Sisi and Guy Mercer, as well as young talent Charlie Ewels, have played well enough to give Ford a selection headache for the rest of the season.

“It’s normally a real push for positions here but we’ve had a few injury problems,” he said. “But I’m sure there will be tough competition again with players coming back in.

“I haven’t been very happy with my own performances despite starting every game. It’s not the start I wanted but hopefully over the next month or so I can get my form back.

“It wasn’t tough despite our back-row injury problems because the young guys coming through have done the job really well and maintained our back-row mentality.

“Dave Sisi and Guy Mercer have been excellent and although the combinations might have been different, we got used to each other and played well together.

“Charlie Ewels showed great leadership already too – he might be a lock by trade but he looked good at flanker and I think you could even play him in the back line he’s that talented.”

Bath’s early season prowess has seen them establish a place in the top four and Houston admits his side are fully focused on maintaining the gap over the chasing pack.

And after the heartbreak of narrowly missing out on a play-off place to Quins last season, the New Zealand-born forward is all too aware of how any dropped points now could come back to haunt his side.

“We are in a good place but we don’t take where we are for granted as the top teams are still all around us,” he added.

“So we are pretty happy but know we have got to perform against the biggest teams to maintain where we stand at the moment.

“Keeping up this gap to the top four is huge for us, especially after last season, as one point can make all the difference in making the semi-finals.

“It’s a real aim to cement ourselves in the top four but we’re also looking beyond that and focusing on making the top two for now.

“There are a lot of teams that will be trying to pick up their game for an end of season run and we have to make sure we are there with them.”

This Christmas, Premiership Rugby is offering fans a special gift with selected tickets for the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final 2015. Click here to find out about this limited offer.

Latest News

Max Clark the centre of attention at Bath Rugby

Back in September – just when Bath Rugby were beginning to count on him in the centres – an ill-timed…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Seven tries success for Exeter Braves over Bath United

Exeter Braves’ Shaun Malton and Levi Davis of Bath United became the first opponents since 2005 to both score hat-tricks…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Worcester Warriors capture Samoa lock Chris Vui

Warriors have completed the signing of versatile Samoa forward Chris Vui till the end of the season. For everything you…

Chris Vui

Wallabies lock Will Skelton joins Saracens

Australian international forward Will Skelton has joined Saracens on a short-term deal. For everything you need to know about Saracens…

Will Skelton

Rowe hails ‘fantastic’ year for Exeter Chiefs

Exeter Rugby Club chairman and chief executive, Tony Rowe OBE, heralded a “fantastic” past year – on and off the…

Exeter Chiefs celebrate

Dan Tuohy joins Bristol Rugby with immediate effect

Dan Tuohy has penned a deal with Bristol Rugby to make the switch to Aviva Premiership Rugby with immediate effect.…

Dan Tuohy

Ally Hogg, Cooper Vuna, Aaron Morris, Lachlan Turner, Bryce Heem and Dan Robson head the Opta Rugby Rankings

Attacks dominated as Newcastle Falcons claimed a dramatic win over Harlequins this weekend in Premiership Rugby but Ally Hogg starred…

allyhogg16sb1111

Premiership Rugby backs Newcastle’s bid for 2018 European Rugby Cup Finals

Premiership Rugby today confirmed its “100% support” for Newcastle’s bid to become host city for European club rugby union's showpiece…

Newcastle Falcons celebrate

Newcastle launches bid for 2018 European Rugby Cup finals

Newcastle is bidding to become the host city for European club rugby union's showpiece weekend in May 2018. The aim…

Newcastle Falcons celebrate

Aviva Premiership Rugby wrap: Round 10

Maro Itoje could not mark his return to a Saracens jersey with a victory – but his director of rugby…

BATH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03:  Maro Itoje of  Saracens is tackled by Max Lahiff of Bath during the Aviva Premiership match between Bath Rugby and Saracens at the Recreation Ground on December 3, 2016 in Bath, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Pat Lam confirmed as Bristol Rugby head coach

Bristol Rugby is delighted to announce the appointment of Pat Lam as the Club’s new Head Coach. The 48 year-old…

Pat Lam

Newcastle Falcons v Saracens kick-off time change

Premiership Rugby can confirm that the kick-off time for the Aviva Premiership Rugby Round 17 Newcastle Falcons v Saracens fixture…

Aviva Premiership ball

Match Reaction: Worcester Warriors 12 Wasps 26

Wasps maintained the pressure on Aviva Premiership Rugby leaders Saracens with success over Worcester Warriors – a victory Dai Young…

Rob Miller deputised in sterling fashion (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Match Reaction: Newcastle Falcons 38 Harlequins 32

Dean Richards’ Newcastle Falcons side are evolving according to the director of rugby, after he saw his side run in…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library