Bath Rugby flanker Francois Louw is prepared to wait for highs
Success must not be expected overnight as Bath Rugby look to reclaim their past glories in 2012-13.
That is the opinion of flanker Francois Louw, who was one of few players to come out with any credit following a disappointing previous campaign at The Rec.
The obvious goal is to improve on last term's eighth-place Aviva Premiership finish and earn a return to the Heineken Cup, which Bath were knocked out of at the pool stage last term.
But South African Louw says fans must be patient if they want Bath to be at the forefront of competitions both at home and on the continent under the stewardship of Gary Gold.
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"We finished really low down on the log last year, below the standard of what Bath Rugby are," said Louw, who was recalled to the South Africa squad yesterday for the clashes down under against Australia and New Zealand on September 8 and 15 respectively.
"We performed poorly in the Heineken Cup and aren't even in that at all this season, which is definitely not where we want to be.
"We want to be competitors in the Heineken Cup and top competitors in the Premiership. We want to be one of the top clubs in Europe – that's our ultimate goal but there's a process for going about that.
"Things have changed this year and new systems have been put in place to try to help us achieve it but that's not to say this will be the year we are able to do it.
"It's all a process but that's what the directive is and that's what we are striving for."
For the time being, Europe's biggest prize will have to wait for Bath, who find themselves in the continent's lower-tier competition – the Amlin Cup.
Its reputation may not have such esteem as the Heineken Cup but Louw says Bath will give the trophy the full respect it deserves as they look to forget previous failings.
"The whole season was pretty horrible but that was last year and we've put it completely behind us," he said. "There isn't much we can take from it other than that it wasn't good enough.
"We are in the Amlin now and we are going to take that very seriously – as seriously as we do the Premiership because that's how we will get back to the top.
"We've got a new set-up with new ideas. Gary's whole ethos towards rugby is something different to what we've ever had before and the guys have really bought into that."
After an impressive first campaign with Bath, which also saw him handed the captain's armband in Stuart Hooper's absence, Louw is relishing the demands of Northern Hemisphere rugby.
"I was out of my comfort zone last year but it was very exciting having a completely new approach," he said.
"There is always a comparison between the hemispheres. They are different but that's not to say either one is any better. I enjoy it here and think the style of play suits me a little better.
"I'm looking forward to getting a second season in the UK up and running now. I feel really comfortable here and at this club."