Connect with us

Rugby News

Ben Spencer ‘relishing’ the pressure of knock-out rugby ahead of European clash with Exeter

Bath captain Ben Spencer says he and his Bath teammates are ‘relishing the challenge’ ahead of them as they build-up for a knock-out clash with Exeter Chiefs on Saturday.

Bath haven’t been in the knock-out rounds of the Champions Cup in nine seasons, but three wins from four pool games helped propel them to third place in their pool and secure their spot in the last-16.

The challenge that awaits them is a tough one though, as they venture to Sandy Park to face an Exeter side that has only lost once in 18 months on home soil; but Spencer feels his group are up for the fight.

“This group has been brilliant together,” he said. “We’ve played in some high-profile games already, so a lot of the group have a good understanding of what it takes in Europe.”

He added: “The Racing game at home, it felt like a knock-out game; It felt like if we lost that game then potentially we could have been out of Europe. The group’s in a great spot at the minute. We’re relishing the challenge at the weekend.”

Ben Spencer is a player who knows what it takes to progress through the latter stages of European competitions. During his time at Saracens, he won three European titles and started in the 2019 final, but he feels his experiences will only help ‘a little bit’

“A little bit, to a certain extent. This is a different group, it’s a young group. As much as I can add, I will try to.”

Ben Spencer on leading Bath into battle

Investec Champions Cup Round 4, Stade Ernest Wallon, Toulouse, France 21/1/2024 Toulouse vs Bath Rugby Ben Spencer of Bath and Antoine Dupont of Toulouse wait in the tunnel Ben Spencer and Antoine Dupont wait in the tunnel 21/1/2024 PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxIRLxFRAxNZL Copyright: xï½INPHO/DavexWinterx _WIN0126

Ben Spencer was named as Bath skipper ahead of this season, and he has since spearheaded their dramatic change in fortunes.

After some tough seasons at the Rec, Bath currently find themselves second in the Premiership table, and are also in the latter stages of the Champions Cup, and Spencer detailed the pride he has in his team after a solid campaign on both fronts.

“I’m immensely proud to lead this group,” he said. “I’ve got a good group of other leaders around me in the group, and I think we’ve shared the responsibility this season really well.

He added: “We understand Champions Cup rugby is different, the week’s got to feel different and this week has. We’re just waiting for it to start again.”

Spencer will be the first Bath captain to lead his side into a Champions Cup knock-out game for nine years, and he detailed he is aware of the responsibility on his shoulders: “We’ve spoken this week about not taking the week for granted. I think it’s nine years since the club have been in the knockout stages of the Champions Cup. These games don’t come around very often.”

He added: “It’s the pinnacle of club rugby, it’s the best against the best and everyone wants to play in these games against the best teams; that’s when you can truly test yourself against these big teams. We’re under no illusions of the test at the weekend.”