RUGBY: Nathan targets starting jersey

Wiltshire Times: Nathan Catt is stopped by the Exeter defence during last weekend's 21-16 Aviva Premiership victory (Photo: Bob Ascott) Nathan Catt is stopped by the Exeter defence during last weekend's 21-16 Aviva Premiership victory (Photo: Bob Ascott)

NATHAN Catt insists he has learned a lot from training alongside Paul James since he arrived at the Rec - but the tight head prop admits he is always happy to take advantage of the Welshman's absence.

Bath Rugby's 21-16 Aviva Premiership victory over West Country rivals Exeter Chiefs on Saturday was their fourth straight in the league and keeps them flying high in third.

The third of these victories saw Catt don the number one jersey for his first start of the campaign with James away on international duty with Wales.

And so impressive was the 25-year-old in pushing a London Wasps pack from one side of Adams Park to the other in the 28-5 victory that James had to settle for a place on the bench for Saturday's visit of Exeter as Catt made it back-to-back starts.

Next up for Bath is an Amlin Challenge Cup double header against Mogliano, the first of which will see Catt and co travel to Italy in an attempt to maintain their 100 per cent start to the competition.

But with the mouth-watering prospect of playing against Harlequins at the Rec when the Aviva Premiership returns four days before Christmas, Catt hopes he has done enough to muscle his way into Bath's front row on a more permanent basis.

"It was a really good result against Exeter and it is always good to win the derby games as they tend to be great atmospheres and fairly frenzied affairs," Catt said.

"And it was also good for me on a personal level to get another start and I have just been enjoying playing and getting the game time while Paul has been away with Wales.

"Having Paul around has been great for me because he is very experienced and is always there to help me out and is a great guy too.

"But I just wanted to try and prove what I could do in his absence and challenge him for that tight head spot and hopefully the coaches have seen a bit more of me.

"I think competition for any place in a club is important and healthy and hopefully I have put my hand up to share the tight head responsibilities with Paul moving forward as we look to continue our good form."

Bath have not only won their last four Aviva Premiership games but are currently on a run of eight games unbeaten in all competitions.

And Catt insists they will not be taking their foot off the pedal in the Amlin Challenge Cup as they look to be a force to be reckoned with on all fronts.

"We don't know much about Mogliano to be honest which is kind of exciting but it just means we need to go out there and worry about ourselves and not think about what they might do," he added.

"And everyone is keen to maintain the good form we are on because it has built confidence and this is important moving forward.

"We talked at the start of the season about being competitive on all fronts, not just in the Premiership, as we felt we had the squad depth to do so.

"And so far you can see that we have managed it and everyone is chipping in so far and it has been a real team effort and long may that continue."

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