Barkley encouraged by Bath

England international Olly Barkley underlined the major sea-change that has occurred at Bath in recent months by indicating he is ready to pledge his future to the club. [more]

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England international Olly Barkley underlined the major sea-change that has occurred at Bath in recent months by indicating he is ready to pledge his future to the club.

It was only seven months ago that senior players Steve Borthwick and David Barnes criticised the club’s recruitment policy and lack of ambition.

Last season Nick Abendanon, one of the country’s brightest young prospects, turned down the offer of a new contract because he was unconvinced by the club’s potential to recapture the glory days.

But Bath have since recruited South Africa’s World Cup-winning fly-half Butch James and they tackle Wasps on Saturday on the back of six straight Guinness Premiership wins with the chance to move back on top of the table.

Barkley’s contract expires at the end of the season and he warned those in charge that the job is not yet done – but he also dropped a major hint that Bath, rather than potential suitors elsewhere in the Premiership, is where his future lies.

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The club hope to have their future at the Rec sorted in the coming months and Barkley said: "What’s going on around here at the moment is having a big bearing on my thoughts about where my own future lies beyond the end of this season.

"The past four years has seen Bath play some good rugby in fits and starts, but never consistently enough to win anything and now we’re playing the sort of rugby on a Saturday that I want to play.

"We’re playing attractive rugby at a high tempo and I’m really enjoying it. My lungs aren’t used to it, but there’s a real buzz about the game for me and around the club.

"That’s a huge factor for me. If you enjoy your rugby, you’ll enjoy life.

"We cannot afford to rest on our laurels and must keep building the squad so that if we have injuries we’ve got the cover because that’s the difference between teams that win trophies and teams that don’t.

"I think Bath could be an interesting place to be over the next couple of years."

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