RUGBY: Matt’s lifted by Wigan challenge

Bath's Matt Banahan

Bath's Matt Banahan

First published in Sport by

MATT Banahan is confident Bath will see the benefits of their cross-code training session with Super League champions Wigan this week when the new Aviva Premiership season kicks off early next month.

The two oval-ball giants met for a two-day training stint at Bath’s Farleigh House headquarters as Bath continued their preparations for kick-off at Sale on September 6.

Winger Banahan, who returns to his former club Jersey with Bath for a pre-season friendly tomorrow, believes the different challenges posed by the rugby league side will stand his squad in good stead when the campaign proper gets under way.

“It was a chance to put our skills under pressure in both attack and defence,’’ said Banahan.

“They (Wigan) brought the ball a lot closer to the line so you had to make the correct defensive decision-making.

“It was good to find out what we could and couldn’t do. They didn’t kick the ball that much so that was a challenge to deal with.

“Wigan showed what a class act they are. Everyone could do the same job and there was a great skill-set throughout.’’

Bath kicked off their pre-season fixtures with a 26-26 draw against Welsh side Scarlets at the Rec last weekend with Banahan, 27, now preparing to return home tomorrow.

The England international came through the ranks at Jersey before joining Bath after a stint in London Irish’s academy and is delighted to see his former club’s own rapid improvement, which saw them reach the Championship in 2012.

“I haven’t played over in Jersey for nine or 10 years,’’ he said.

“There’s a bit more money in the club now and they’ve shown they are willing to buy talent in and that players want to play for them.’’


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