Matt Banahan hopes to play on for 10 years after agreeing new Bath Rugby deal
Being part of a bright Bath future is what made Matt Banahan’s decision to sign a new contract with the club a no-brainer.
The giant centre has been at The Rec since joining the academy as a 19-year-old early in Steve Meehan’s tenure as head coach in 2006.
Although the club’s achievements have been far from glittering since then – they have won only the 2008 European Challenge Cup in that time – the now 26-year-old can see a much more promising road ahead.
“Contract times are always very stressful but now it’s done and dusted it’s nice to know I’ve got another one,” said Banahan, who won the last of 16 England caps at the 2011 World Cup.
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“It’s that sort of concrete thing that you know you are going to be somewhere for a couple more years.
“I’ve just turned 26, so I’m still young. Hopefully I’ve still got another ten years to play.
“The club is growing – you can see the culture growing within it. That’s what you want to be part of rather than going somewhere else.
“It’s not like when we were moving around Lambridge and Farleigh – we are now situated and building a buzz. If they start building a new Rec as well, it will be nice to always be here and be part of that.”
The happiness of his young family has been Banahan’s number one priority for several years. With them settled in the city, there was no reason for him to seek a move elsewhere.
“There are always temptations but you’ve got to realise what’s best,” said Banahan.
“I need to look at what’s best for my family. They are happy, and a happy home is a happy man. That’s what you’ve got to keep and hopefully that stability will show on the pitch. Everything I need and want is here.”
With Ben Williams also agreeing a new deal, Bath’s centre pairing could be in place for several years to come. Dan Hipkiss has also been prominent this term, while Kyle Eastmond has impressed after recently moving in from the wing, suggesting Bath’s midfield will continue to have a very English feel.
Williams said: “It’s a great strength we’ve got. With Banners, Danny and Kyle, they all bring something a bit different.
“It’s great competition and can only improve us.
“Having a new contract is a big thing for me and a big weight off my shoulders going forwards.
“Running out there week in, week out was something I dreamed about when I was younger.”