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How Nathan Hughes reacted to his man of the match debut at Bath

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Former England No8 Nathan Hughes royally illustrated how he still has what it takes to shine at Gallagher Premiership level by producing a man of the match display just days after joining bottom club Bath from Bristol. Having been a mainstay of the Bears team during his first two years under Pat Pam, the 30-year-old has dramatically fallen down the pecking order this season.    

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Despite getting back into their Premiership team for the New Year’s Day game away to Exeter 14 weeks after his previous start in the league, Hughes wasn’t involved in Bristol’s recent Heineken Champions Cup games.

Instead, he found himself lining out last weekend for Hartpury College in their drawn Championship match versus London Scottish, an appearance that led to an enquiry from Bath about whether they could take Hughes on loan

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Saracens vs Bristol Bears – The Showdown 2
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Saracens vs Bristol Bears – The Showdown 2

Bristol boss Lam agreed, admitting: “It is important for Nate to get some regular quality game time at this stage of the season to enable him to get back to his best rugby,” 

It didn’t take Hughes long to return to his best, however, as a performance in which he made 48 metres from 13 carries, enjoyed six gainline successes, made six tackles and won one turnover ended with him receiving the man of the match award after bottom club Bath deservedly defeated visiting champions Harlequins.   

Naturally, he was chuffed with how it unfolded and he even hinted with a smile at the end of his post-game TV interview on BT Sport that a more permanent deal with Bath just might be something of interest given his current Bristol deal expires at the end of this season. “We built all this week and we talked about it as well, the boys have been through a tough season and stuff like that. They have drawn a line… what a way to get the win,” he enthused.  

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“We knew against the wall there you had got to be patient. With Quins, fair play to them, they just kept coming and coming. What we talked about was staying patient… and we rode the wave, turned around and managed to get two tries, managed to get to win.”

Asked what playing meant to him, Hughes added: “In rugby, we always like to play… I was just buzzing to come out here and perform. For me to perform with the boys and get the win it’s just a credit to them and we move on to Sarries next week.” 

The flash interview concluded with Hughes asking might he now look to stay at Bath long term. “We’ll see, we’ll see.”

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