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BATH RUGBY: Garvey aiming to find feet with Bath
MATT Garvey’s late arrival to rugby means he remains on a constant mission to prove himself.
Taking up the sport at the age of 17, after a background in football, the lock/back row forward, who turns 26 next month, has enjoyed something of a meteoric rise, cementing his place in London Irish’s squad before answering the call to join the Bath revolution being masterminded by some of his early mentors this summer.
“It’s always been very surreal to me to be where I am. I originated in football and to play where I am in that quick a time, sometimes I’ve found myself having to pinch myself.
“At Irish I was being coached by and sometimes playing with Mike Catt (ex-Bath and England three-quarter).
“He’s someone you used to watch on television, but the next minute he knew all about me and knew my nickname, things like that.
“But you have to realise you are here for a reason. I’m very fortunate and thankful for where I am.’’
Garvey’s displays for Irish had earned him a call into the England Saxons squad, but the Essex-born man felt this summer was the right time for a new direction in his career. “I only started playing the game when I was 17 so every year I’d seen a gradual progression.
“Last year I felt I just started to plateau off a little bit and I just felt I needed to be pushed and challenged.
“That’s not to say that wasn’t happening at Irish, but the opportunity to work with Toby (Booth) and Neal Hatley again, the guys that had brought me through the academy system, was there.
“They know how to push me and are not afraid to pull me in and push those buttons.
“There is also competition for places and that tends to bring out the best in me.
“I did well at Irish because I couldn’t take my foot off. I had Bob Casey, Nick Kennedy, Kieran Roche there that would take your jersey back. I put myself in a situation to be challenged.’
“It’s quite nerve-wracking coming to a new place and when there is a big squad and competition for places you kind of feel a bit on edge but we’re all happy and there is a good vibe.
“You have to earn the respect of the players.
“You have to keep your head down, train hard and work in pre-season so that the other boys go ‘yes, he’s a good player’.
“I knuckled down and the next step is to get that starting jersey and hold it as long as I can.’’
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