Bath Rugby's Tom Heathcote targets LV= Cup success and Scotland place
Scotland international Tom Heathcote is getting used to the lonely trips back down to Bath Rugby during this year’s Six Nations.
And the young fly-half insists it is a habit he is desperate to break as he continues to be overlooked by interim head coach Scott Johnson in favour of Ruaridh Jackson and Duncan Weir.
With Stephen Donald out injured, Heathcote has been a revelation for his club again this season in the Aviva Premiership, guiding them back into the play-off picture with a string of impressive performances - most recently against local rivals Gloucester Rugby.
The 21-year-old now has the small matter of an LV= Cup semi-final to look forward to, with Bath heading to The Stoop on Saturday to take on Harlequins (12.15pm).
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And after also scooping a nomination for the LV= Cup Breakthrough Player Award, Heathcote cannot wait to resume hostilities in a competition that holds a lot of fond memories for him, including last year’s trip to the semi-finals.
“The LV= Cup was a great platform for me last year to get some game time and luckily I impressed enough to then get my chance in the first team,” he said.
“And that’s what makes it such a great competition, people are given a chance who might not normally be involved and they can stake a claim.
“We know how strong a side Harlequins are, regardless of what players they are missing, so we will prepare accordingly but will take heart from our win over them earlier this season.
“Of course it’s been a big challenge for me to be training with Scotland during the week and then heading back down for the weekend.
“It’s tough but a good experience and I'm getting used to it - not that it’s something I want to get that used to!
“I want to be coming off the bench and starting for Scotland, of course I do, but it’s great to see the boys doing so well.”
And despite being continually overlooked since his debut last autumn, Heathcote is full of praise for the work Johnson has done since taking over from former Bath coach Andy Robinson.
“I am incredibly supportive of Scott and what he has done in such a short time, there’s been a clear improvement to the squad and the results show that,” Heathcote added.
“That reflects well on Scott and I'm sure when the decision is made for a full-time appointment it will stand him in good stead. I for one think it would be a great for him to get the job.
“He has given me some advice on what he wants from me as a fly-half, from an attacking perspective about how deep I stand moving onto the ball.
“In training and games with Bath, I have been trying to put into practice what he has been telling me so that when my chance comes along I am ready to grab it.”
To vote for your LV=Breakthrough Player and for LV=Cup tickets and information, go to www.LV.com/rugby.