Stuart Hooper backs Bath Rugby to bounce back from semi-final disappointment
Bath Rugby captain Stuart Hooper believes Saturday’s LV= Cup semi-final agony will inspire the club to greater things in their two remaining competitions.
The 31-23 defeat at Harlequins was the second year in a row that Bath have been eliminated in the last four, with Leicester Tigers earning a one-point win at The Rec 12 months earlier.
Gary Gold’s side must now turn their attentions back to the Aviva Premiership – where they currently sit seventh and have an outside chance of a top-four finish – and next month’s Amlin Cup quarter-final at home to Stade Francais.
“It hurts getting to the semi-finals two years in a row and not progressing but we have to move on,” said 31-year-old Hooper.
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“We want to push on in the Premiership and we’ve got some very important games to play.
“Then it’s a European quarter-final and we want to put in an awesome performance against Stade at home.
“Before Saturday’s game we were in three competitions but now we’re left in two, so we’ll focus our attentions on those.”
The lock made his comeback appearance at The Stoop, coming on as a second-half replacement after five weeks out with a neck injury.
And a now fully fit Hooper admits there will be plenty of frank conversations at Bath’s Farleigh House training ground before they return to action in next Friday’s Premiership trip to Sale Sharks.
“I feel fine. I’m just pleased to be back out there with the lads and putting a shift in but it would have been a lot nicer to be on the winning side,” said Hooper.
“It’s going to hurt and we’ve got a bit of time to mull it over now with a bye week and I’m sure all the boys will be watching the final thinking about what could have been.
“There has to be some frank discussions and personally people have to look at themselves and think what more they could have done – that’s always the way with a loss.
“Semi-finals are those sorts of games where you come away with nothing – it’s the final or bust.
“That adds something to it and the boys will be looking at themselves and what they could have done differently and I’m sure we’ll see a reaction in the next game against Sale.”