Dave Attwood relishing battle for Bath Rugby second-row berths
With five second-rows fighting fit and desperate to play, Dave Attwood says he would not like to be in head coach Gary Gold's shoes when it comes to team selections, writes Harry Abbott.
After starting the season on the bench, Attwood has been the prominent figure in Bath Rugby's engine room since forcing his way into the starting XV in October.
That coincided with a spell on the sidelines for club captain Stuart Hooper, while Ryan Caldwell has only recently returned to first-team contention after suffering an injury in pre-season.
Gold also has Dominic Day and Academy ace Will Spencer at his disposal, with Attwood claiming witness to an increased intensity in training now all are available to play.
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"I started the season on the back foot a little bit, but since we've got up and running I've gained momentum and feel like I'm going well at the moment," said Attwood.
"The competition in the second row is fierce – everyone is fit. Calders was player of the year last season, Hoops is the club captain and Dom Day has come in and held his hand up as well.
"Will Spencer is also throwing his weight around as well as anyone, so with five potentials to choose from I don't envy Gary's job trying to pick who starts.
"To have everyone fit and chomping at the bit has made training as feisty as it's been all year.
"There's pressure on whoever are the guys to start because there are people waiting in the wings, desperate to get their opportunity."
Having borne the brunt of the workload in Bath's pack in recent weeks, Attwood looks likely to sit out the Amlin Cup double header against Calvisano.
They cannot afford to rest too many of their star performers, however, with the carrot at the end of the tournament – the Heineken Cup – the same as domestic competitions.
"You can't rest too much as, just like the LV= Cup, the Amlin games are an opportunity to get back into the Heineken Cup," said Attwood.
"One of the things that's rife in the squad at the moment is the desire to get back into that competition.
"Whatever route that takes, whether if means finishing near the top of the Premiership or reaching finals in the LV= or Amlin Cups, we've got to be playing in the Heineken Cup if we want to be considered one of the best teams around."