Dave Attwood admits he has extra incentive to help Bath Rugby see off Saracens live on BT Sport on Friday as he looks to get one over his England second-row rivals.
As England claimed a first Grand Slam for 13 years, Saracens second row duo George Kruis and Maro Itoje saw their stock rise considerably.
And this is bad news for Attwood who failed to feature in Eddie Jones’ England side for this year’s Six Nations, as well as missing out on the World Cup party.
But Attwood could prove a point at the Rec on Friday night as Bath host league-leaders Saracens, something not lost on the 28-year-old.
“George had a tremendous Six Nations, there was a lot of talk about him being player of the tournament and I thought that he deserved it,” Attwood said.
“And then Maro has obviously come in and done superbly well – the competition for the second row with England is unbelievable now – which isn’t great for me!
“But that is something I have to deal with and this is my first opportunity to get back to it with Bath and to be playing these two guys is great way to test myself out.
“We have had some good battles against Saracens and they have probably come out on top a bit more than us – particularly the most recent one (when Bath lost 19-13).
“That was a disappointing one at their place because we played really well for most of the game but in the last 15 we fell away and they pinched it – probably deservedly.”
Bath have won their last two games at the Rec – against London Irish and Newcastle Falcons – but have yet to win three in a row at the venue this season.
Saracens, meanwhile, returned to the top of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table with their victory over Exeter Chiefs last time out, but four sides have tallied more league points in the last six rounds than Mark McCall’s troops.
Saracens have lost just one of their last dozen Aviva Premiership Rugby encounters with Bath and returning fly-half Owen Farrell is keen for that run to continue as he slips seamlessly back into domestic action after helping England to the Grand Slam.
“You don’t feel like you have to pull yourself out of bed to get up for a game, and next we’ve got Bath away and then Northampton in the quarter-final in Europe,” Farrell told London24.
“It’s easy for us to come back into this. Everyone was excited this week to get playing with the boys and to put a good performance in.
“There have been eight weeks of Premiership games (with the Six Nations players away). Normally there’s, what, four? This is a different year because of the World Cup.
“It will be a tough period for some clubs, yes. They are the cards you are dealt. We just get on with what we’ve got to do.”
Recreation Ground, 7.45pm – Live on BT Sport
Referee: Greg Garner (97th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Simon McConnell & Paul Dix. TMO: Graham Hughes.