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'I was in a pretty bad place': Tom de Glanville opens up on his Barbarians ban and how he rebounded at Bath

By Liam Heagney

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Tom de Glanville has described how his RFU ban following involvement in the high jinx that resulted in the cancellation of the England versus Barbarians match last October ultimately made him hungrier to succeed this season with Bath.

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The 20-year-old made a Gallagher Premiership debut off the bench in the final match before lockdown in March 2020. He returned to make eight league appearances, three as a starter, when the 2019/20 season stoppage was lifted, sufficiently impressing to be called into an England training camp.

He was then re-routed to the Barbarians squad that was to play England on October 25 only for that match to be cancelled after 13 players – including de Glanville – breached virus safety protocols by leaving their hotel without permission.

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It wasn’t until some weeks later that de Glanville learned that he was banned from playing for two weeks at Bath, would have to do 50 hours unpaid community work and was fined one week’s wages. That punishment, though, hasn’t stopped him from impressing for Bath and last weekend’s start versus Bristol was his twelfth of the Premiership season at full-back – not bad when you factor in how he also missed seven weeks recently with a hamstring injury.

“I never really would have expected to be where I am now,” said de Glanville, reflecting on his breakthrough season at Bath. “If I look back at the start of lockdown last season, getting into that England camp and the Baa-Baas and all of that happening and then playing however many games I did for the club through the season and then the injury, it has felt like something that would happen in five years has happened in one year.

“There has been so much crammed in and it has been intense. I guess when I get a chance to reflect in the off-season it will really sink in. This time last year I had played one or two games for the club and not really cemented myself at all. I’m pretty proud of where I have come and how far I have come,” he said, going on to explain the Barbarians escapade affected him and what he did to bounce back from it.

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“After that whole Barbarians thing, I was in a pretty bad place and in terms of reflection I came back so much hungrier to get better. It was a bit of a reality check in terms of what I needed to do to get where I wanted to be. It became much more real and it was a tough road ahead. I’m enjoying it as we go on it.

“My brothers, my family played a massive role in that. My housemate Cam Redpath was there for me just chatting and stuff, getting stuff off my chest which was nice. They were probably the two main groups of people that helped me.

“Getting that snippet of being in England camp just made me want it so much more coming out of it. Everything I have done has made me want to be back in that squad and be back in that environment and give myself a chance to develop. I’m excited and I will hopefully play well for Bath and things come off the back of that.”

Bringing 84kgs to the Premiership fight at the start of the season was a touch on the light side but de Glanville has learned to adapt and is confident he will naturally bulk up more over time and become even more suited to the robustness of the top-flight collisions.

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“I have put on a few kilos since the start of the season and I just feel a lot more springy and a lot more powerful than I have in previous seasons. Definitely, I can feel myself getting stronger and developing more on that front.

“It has been a conversation that I have had with S&C staff and they are happy with my speed and my power. Just that bit of extra weight will naturally come with my age in the next few years as long as I keep working hard and eating well. Naturally, I will develop physically in that way and I will keep working hard on that front because it is pretty important.

“A lot of stuff I have been working on and thinking about has been in terms of limiting those collisions, getting my body in positions where I’m not hit square on by players bigger than me, just finding weak shoulders and angles that I can get my hands free or make line breaks as opposed to running at players.”

Asked which match has been his favourite so far, the son of ex-England captain Phil added: “I really enjoyed Sale away at the start of the season. That was a great game, winning away up there. I really enjoyed that.

“Just the way we attacked, our counter-attack was great, we found weak shoulders, we offloaded, moved the ball. It was freezing cold and windy but we didn’t let that stop us expanding the way we played,” he explained, adding that it will be strange when he gets around to playing in front of fans, something he isn’t used to.

“I’ve only played one or two games in front of fans which is a bit weird so it will be strange when fans do come back because I have not really experienced that yet. It’s an exciting prospect.”

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'I was in a pretty bad place': Tom de Glanville opens up on his Barbarians ban and how he rebounded at Bath

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