BATH RUGBY: Banahan already looking ahead as landmark match looms

Wiltshire Times: BATH RUGBY: Banahan already looking ahead as landmark match looms BATH RUGBY: Banahan already looking ahead as landmark match looms

MATT Banahan is on the brink of entering an elite club at Bath Rugby, but he is eager to push on and become a legend at The Rec.

Banahan, 26, has pulled on a Bath shirt 149 times and will become just the third player at the club to hit 150 when he next steps out onto the pitch.

The former England man is hoping that will be tomorrow, when Bath host Italian outfit Mogliano, but he may have to wait until the following weekend’s Aviva Premiership clash with Harlequins.

Of the current squad, only Nick Abendanon and club captain Stuart Hooper have managed that feat and the 6ft 7in winger will enter the club with pride.

However, with the likes of Jeremy Guscott and Mike Catt having surpassed 200 with ease, Banahan knows he has a lot more to do before cementing his place in Bath’s history.

And while personal accolades are important, he is more interested in continuing to challenge for silverware on all fronts this season.

“It will be a massive thing to be one of the old stalwarts of the club,” said Banahan.

“It is only three of us who have played 150 games for Bath, but I’m not going to rest on my laurels – I want to get to 200.

“I came into the club when people like Lee Mears were on 200 so I would love to join that club.

“We are obviously pleased with being third in the Premiership but we have three massive games in the Premiership before and after Christmas and we want to give ourselves the best opportunity to cement that place in the top four.”

The Quins clash is followed by a trip to Northampton Saints shortly after Christmas, before visiting Aviva Premiership champions Leicester Tigers to kick off the New Year.

But first they welcome Mogliano in the Amlin Challenge Cup, after returning from a 55-8 win in Italy last weekend.

The victory was their third in as many games in this year’s competition and Banahan is expecting another five points – if Bath repeat their performance.

“If we play like we did over in Italy, we should come back with a win,” he added.

“It was good – the boys played really well and came out with the five-pointer and that is what we wanted.

“In the second game you know what is going to come.

“They are not really going to play much different to how they played seven days earlier.”

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