Bath’s transformation – how the in-form Premiership semi-finalists found their identity

All of those traits point to more control, which Spencer, one of the best box-kickers in the country, embodies as a player. Combine that with the aggression and strength supplied by Bath’s forwards – the front row of Beno Obano, Tom Dunn and Will Stuart in particular – and at their peak over this period Bath have resembled a juggernaut.

Young players have also stepped up, with Hooper recognising that Miles Reid, Tom de Glanville, Cam Redpath, Gabe Hamer-Webb have all thrived perhaps six months earlier than the coaches were expecting them to, grasping their opportunities.

When asked what he believes has been the key to Bath’s stellar form since the restart, Hooper lets out a small chuckle. “It’s a question a lot of people have asked,” he admits. “It’s so rarely one thing. We have tried to stay very true to our values, being very open and honest with each other, players and staff. That goes back through lockdown when there was a lot going on with pay cuts and redundancies – all those things which were completely unfamiliar. Our stance as a club was to be very transparent through that, as open as we could be, to treat people as humans.

“We’ve also been working very hard. The players and staff during lockdown did so much work, with garages converted into gyms, people training at four in the morning so they could drop their kids at nursery. I believe that is part of why we have had such a good run post-lockdown.

“The last part is down to competitiveness. When we looked at the block of games, there were always going to have to be changes to the team given the directives – we couldn’t play the same people. Even if we could only do two minutes of work training, we would make those two minutes as competitive as possible. You have to earn the place to play for Bath. Being true to all those things has put us in a good spot.”

Regardless of how they fare against Exeter on Saturday, Bath are steadily building something and amidst the difficulties of the past year, have found their identity.

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