BATH RUGBY: Francois ready for the final Challenge

Wiltshire Times: Bradford on Avon’s Three Gables restaurant hosted a farewell dinner for Bath full-back Nick Abendanon (left) on Tuesday, attended by teammates including Kyle Eastmond, Guy Mercer, Peter Stringer, Stuart Hooper, Dave Attwood and Tom Biggs Bradford on Avon’s Three Gables restaurant hosted a farewell dinner for Bath full-back Nick Abendanon (left) on Tuesday, attended by teammates including Kyle Eastmond, Guy Mercer, Peter Stringer, Stuart Hooper, Dave Attwood and Tom Biggs

FRANCOIS Louw admits the carrot of an Amlin Challenge Cup final appearance proved a real motivation as he fought back from torn ankle ligaments.

The South Africa international is poised to return to Bath colours for the first time in two months in tonight’s European showpiece against Northampton at Cardiff Arms Park (8pm).

The flanker, 28, was ruled out of the Aviva Premiership run-in when he suffered the injury against London Irish in March and he said: “Not to be involved in the business end was frustrating.

“As an individual and a player it’s how you come back that matters and how you stay positive as well as how you help with the team environment.

“With the help I’ve had from the S and C (strength and conditioning team) and medical teams, I’ve been in amazing hands. I really believe I’ve come back quicker than I should have.

“Pushing to play in these last few games and the fact that we are in a final definitely helped. Sometimes you work a little harder when you are injured.’’

Louw, who is expected to be involved with his country’s summer Tests next month, added: “We want to get victories, we want to get silverware and we want to be champions.

“We’ve played well (in the Amlin) this year, we’ve dominated. It’s not done yet, we need to top it off. We don’t want to pat each other on the back and say ‘well done, we’ve made the final.’

“We want to have a trophy in the middle of the team room and I think we owe it to the fans, our families and the people who have made sacrifices.

“It’s been a long time since the club found itself in the position we are and it’s an opportunity to take a trophy and about time we did.’’

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