Tom Heathcote: I knew Guy Mercer would do a great job as Bath Rugby captain
Guy Mercer passed his first test as Bath Rugby's senior captain with flying colours against Calvisano – although fly-half Tom Heathcote insists that was never in doubt.
After ringing the changes from the 17-12 Aviva Premiership defeat to Leicester Tigers the weekend before, Gary Gold's men got off to a slow start against the Italians and only led 15-8 at the interval.
But all that changed in the second half as Bath scored 52 points to confirm their biggest-ever European home win.
And no one would have been more relieved than Mercer, who was leading the senior side out for the first time.
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But Heathcote, who rose through Bath's ranks alongside Mercer, says that nobody had any doubts that the back rower would come good when handed the responsibility.
"I was really happy for Guy when he was named captain and I thought he did a great job," said Heathcote.
"Having played alongside him in the A League I knew he was a great leader and it was awesome to play with him as senior captain for the first time.
"I knew he would lead by example and front up physically to the challenge that was in front of us.
"He did that but he also did a great job of getting us going at half-time when things weren't quite going as well as we'd hoped they would.
"He rallied us up at a time when we needed it and really showed not just what a great player he is but also what a leader he is."
Next up for Heathcote and co is a trip to Italy in the return fixture against Calvisano before getting back to domestic duties against Saracens on Saturday week.
Aviva is proud to be title sponsor of Aviva Premiership Rugby – one of the world's leading rugby union competitions. Each season will feature 135 games, which will be watched by 1.7 million people live at the grounds and many more through broadcast partners Sky, ITV and ESPN. Visit www.premiershiprugby.com.