There is often a friendly rivalry between forwards and backs, but Ross Batty has no qualms in admitting that it is fly-half George Ford who makes Bath Rugby tick.
Despite defeat away at Leicester Tigers last weekend, Bath have started the new season strongly – following up an impressive opening-day Aviva Premiership Rugby win against Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens with comfortable victories over Newcastle Falcons and Worcester Warriors.
Ford has been pulling the strings from the No.10 role in those contests and hooker Batty admits the 23-year-old is a forward’s dream at fly-half.
“George has been absolutely outstanding, he’s definitely the one who organises the game, he tells you where he wants you, you need that from a 10 and his kicking is second to none,” said Batty, speaking at the launch of this year’s Aviva Community Fund alongside team-mates Matt Banahan and Charlie Ewels.
“When you get your head up from a set piece and you’re going 40 or 50 yards upfield you have a smile on your face.
“A No.10 needs to be able to understand the game and direct play, everything runs through your 10, I think he has more than enough to do that at international level.”
The Aviva Community Fund is a nationwide initiative that lends a helping hand to local communities by offering support and funding for inspirational local causes, clubs and projects.
It has already benefited over 320,000 people, through 431 winning projects across the UK, and this year, local grassroots sports clubs can apply or reapply for funding in a new, sport-specific category.
And Batty believes the importance of grassroots rugby to the health of the sport in the UK can’t be overstated.
“It’s massively important to get a number of young kids involved and having a good time,” he explained. “The more people you can get involved the better standard it brings to the Aviva Premiership.
“Having the kids out there keeps them out of trouble and if they enjoy it and get into it they are more likely to push on to the senior stuff.
“If you have more people participating and more people getting coached at that young age it’s going to help them kick on and develop as long as that enjoyment factor is there.”
With over 100 appearances for the club since joining from Rotherham Titans in 2010, Batty is something of a Bath stalwart and claims the local environment means he loves being at The Rec.
“It’s a fantastic area, the people down here live and breathe rugby which makes for a good club,” said Batty. “They want to do well, play an exciting brand of rugby and really be competitive.
“You know you have the backing of the city and chairman to play that rugby, which is exciting and you want to be a part of it. I can see the club going forward and building for the future, and I’m looking forward to being part of that.”
Premiership Rugby and the 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby Clubs are supporting the Aviva Community Fund, a nationwide initiative which offers funding of up to £25,000 to grassroots sports clubs and other community organisations close to your heart. Enter at aviva.co.uk/community-fund from September 13.