TOP BAR - Fixtures

Stooke settled at Bath Rugby

Stooke settled at Bath Rugby

Though Elliott Stooke has only pulled on the Bath Rugby shirt in three Aviva Premiership Rugby matches, the lock says he feels right at home already.

Stooke spent two seasons with Gloucester Rugby before completing a summer-switch to their neighbours at the Rec.

His arrival coincided with new director of rugby Todd Blackadder’s, who joined after stamping his authority on Super Rugby with Crusaders in his native New Zealand.

And despite the influx of new faces, Bath hit the ground running with three successive victories to kick-off the season.

Blackadder was philosophical about last weekend’s sobering defeat to Leicester Tigers, admitting the best team on the day won.

But that defeat has certainly done little to curb Stooke’s enthusiasm.

“We had a great start to the season, but Leicester is a tough place to go,” said the 23-year-old.

“We knew that before the game and that showed in our effort.

“But individually we were maybe two or three per cent off our game, and then combined that becomes a problem.

“We’ve analysed it, we’ve learnt from it, we move on, there’s nothing to panic about.

“Life in Bath is fantastic. We’ve got brilliant coaches, great training methods and new systems to learn.

“Everyone has welcomed me with open opens. I feel like I’ve been here five years let alone five weeks.”

There will be familiar surroundings for Stooke this weekend, when Bath travel to Kingsholm to take on his former employers.

This fixture, of which Stooke has had first-hand experience as both fan and player, is one of the most hotly anticipated in the south-west.

And the second row cannot wait for another taste of the action.

“It’s a massive game, a derby. Everyone knows what it’s like,” added Stooke.

“I grew up watching Bath v Gloucester, I got to play in it for Gloucester, now I’m playing in it for Bath – it is quite a story really.

“I know exactly what it means to everyone involved and I cannot wait for Saturday.”

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