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Johann van Graan hails improved feeling around Bath as reason for title charge

Bath Director of Rugby Johann van Graan has said his side have created an environment people ‘want to come to and then people don’t want to leave’ as one of the reasons behind their marked improvement this season.

Bath Director of Rugby Johann van Graan has said his side have created an environment people ‘want to come to and then people don’t want to leave’, which has allowed them to rise up the Premiership table.

Bath are firing on all cylinders this season, and despite a slip-up against Bristol before the break they find themselves firmly in the hunt for the title.

Whilst things might be rosy at the Rec this season, there have been some dark times in recent years. In 2022, they finished bottom of the table, and in 2023 they only secured a top eight finish in the very last play of the season; but van Graan’s men now find themselves back at the top table.

It might seem like there is a secret ingredient that has been added to the squad, but the former Munster boss believes it’s the collective vision of his players that have inspired their dramatic change in fortunes.

“I don’t think there’s a secret,” he told Rugby Nause News. “I think we started this journey on the 11th of July, and there is a vision of where we want to go as a group. It’s all about people, so we got the team a lot better. We established how we want to play the game first.”

“We’ve become tough to beat, and this season we wanted to improve other parts of our game and we certainly have done that.”

He added: “I think, careful planning and buying from all involved, right through from the owner, board, club staff, staff and then most importantly players and they believe that we can achieve some big things in the future.”

van Graan also highlighted how the environment is now somewhere the players want to be, which is helping their cultural shift off the pitch: “I think the most important thing is we love what we do. We’ve created an environment here at Bath now where people want to come to and then people don’t want to leave and the players really enjoy what we’re trying to achieve.”

Johann van Graan on returning to Premiership action

Copyright: xï½INPHO/DanxSheridanx 130A1119 Credit: IMAGO

Bath were firmly in the fight for the title before the Premiership break, and this weekend’s clash with Sale gives them a chance to put some more breathing room between themselves and the teams below.

“We’re very excited to get going again,” he said on his side’s return to Premiership action.

“We had a really good break as a group. We’ve been away for a few weeks, did a bit of training, away for a few days and we had two friendlies against Gloucester and Leinster, and now we’re looking forward now to getting back into the Premiership again.”