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RUGBY: Stringer knuckles down
LUCKY charm Peter Stringer hopes his loan spell at the Rec can help him add a further chapter to his glittering career.
The Munster scrum-half has proved a hit since arriving as temporary cover for the injured Michael Claassens at the end of January, having yet to taste defeat in a Bath shirt.
The 98-times capped Ireland man’s stint is due to end in mid-March and, with his provincial contract also ending at the end of the season, Stringer is eyeing as much on-pitch time as possible.
“There is a contract there (at Bath) until March 18 or 20, which is up for review at that point in time. If there is any injury crisis back in Munster then they will need to call me back.
“It’s pretty much wait and see until then and hopefully get as much game time as I can until then.
“I want to play next year and hopefully the year after. I don’t see a day when I want to stop playing.
“This does put you in the shop window when you are playing more regularly.
“It (a permanent Bath deal) hasn’t been discussed. If things come up in conversation then so be it but it’s pretty much this loan spell that I’m focussed on at the moment.”
Stringer believes his recent experiences as a ‘rugby nomad’ have helped him to add new spark to his career.
After falling behind in the pecking order at Munster, the 35-year-old enjoyed brief spells in the Premiership with both Saracens and subsequently-relegated Newcastle before returning to England last month.
He added: “Last year was my first time doing it and it was strange. I was 14 years at Munster without a change and the same routine day in day out.
“To get an opportunity last year to come away was a daunting challenge, but at the same time in the back of my mind I knew it was something I had to do because I wanted to play rugby.
“Last year gave me great confidence that I could do it. I was five months’ away, having get to know 50 new people in each club and all the calls. It was challenging. Once you are through the first week, it’s very enjoyable.’
“If I was at home, not playing but training every day and doing extra training, if I felt myself I was at the end, I’d be happy to not play games and just pick up a wage at the end of the month.
“To make a move away from home, away from friends and family to keep playing is still a thing I want to do.
“I’ve a love for the game. The end is not really in sight at the moment.’’ Stringer’s Bath spell has seen him renew acquaintances with Gary Gold and Mike Ford, with whom he worked during his stay at Newcastle.
He said: “I’m used to Fordy and Gary from Newcastle. Knowing their mentality and approach to the game and their understanding and knowledge about it, it makes it a bit easier and hopefully I can add something to it as well.
“I’m still learning about the game. Every time I go to a new place, I’m picking little things up.
“You automatically assume that when you have been to Munster for years and have been successful, there is one way of doing things.
"But you move to somewhere else, where they do things differently and see that they are still winning. There are little things you can pick from everywhere to be successful.
“There’s an ambition and guys here really want to play. There is a good quality of player here, who are keen to run with the ball.’’
Stringer’s unbeaten Bath record is likely to face a severe examination at Northampton tomorrow (3pm) and he said: “That’s the beauty of the Premiership, there are no easy games.
“I’ve played in Franklin’s Gardens before and it’s a tough place to play with good supporters. Their (Northampton’s) form is quite mixed, but they are ahead of us in the table and will look to widen that gap.
“We’re on a roll and that’s why you play rugby, to be part of these games.’’
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