Dave Attwood: Bath have strength in depth to cope with Stuart Hooper absence
Dave Attwood believes Bath have the strength in depth to cope with the loss of Stuart Hooper after the club captain again fell foul of injury.
The lock was restricted to just 13 appearances during a 2011-12 campaign that saw his body blighted by problems.
And the 30-year-old found his way back onto the physio’s table after just five games this term, tweaking his hamstring in the home victory over Sale Sharks at the end of September.
That ruled him out of Saturday’s defeat at Gloucester and means he will take no part in Bath’s opening two Amlin Cup fixtures.
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Fellow second-row Attwood is likely to be among the beneficiaries during Hooper’s spell on the sidelines with a trip to Bucharest this weekend and, although frustrated to see his skipper ruled out again, he backed the squad to perform in his absence.
“Losing any player to injury will always knock you back but Stuart is the club captain, so it will set things back quite significantly,” said Attwood, who started in the engine room alongside Dominic Day at Kingsholm. “Stuart’s been extremely unlucky over the last few years. He’s gone an awfully long way without having any problems but now it seems to have all bundled in at once.
“It’s the nature of the game, though, as we lost Ryan Caldwell early on too.
“We certainly aren’t short and Will Spencer came on at the weekend and put in a great shift for 20 minutes. He’s a tremendous player and will be a huge asset.”
First-team coach Toby Booth added that the club were hopeful to have their skipper back in action for the return to Aviva Premiership action when Exeter Chiefs visit The Rec on October 27. He said: “Stuart’s responded pretty well and we think it’ll only be a couple of weeks.
“Initially we thought it might be a bit worse, so we’re hoping to have Stuart and Matt Banahan back for the return of the Premiership. Tom Heathcote and Ryan Caldwell are probably on the same timeline, and Horacio Agulla and Francois Louw will be back from international duty too.”
With a string of absentees in the same position, Attwood is unlikely to get a break any time soon.
But after again tasting defeat against his former side at Kingsholm, the 25-year-old believes the best way to put the disappointment behind him is to stay on the pitch.
Attwood said: “That fixture means an awful lot to me but we didn’t come out with the right result. We fell apart in the second half and I’ll shoulder an awful lot of responsibility for that, being the lineout leader on the field.
“It wasn’t up to scratch but there’s an opportunity to put that right this weekend. If anything I’m thankful for the injuries because it will force me to get back on track.”
Bath have received the ticket allocation for the away Amlin Cup fixture with Agen next Thursday. They are selling 200 Category One tickets available at 44 Euros (£36) each, and 250 Category Two tickets priced at 33 Euros (£27) each. Tickets can be bought over the phone on 0844 448 1865 or in person from the Ticket Office. They are available until close of business today.