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“There’s more belief within the guys”-Bath Rugby’s Josh Bayliss daring to dream

Bath Rugby flanker Josh Bayliss is daring to dream after a very successful season to date. 

It’s been a tough few years at the rec, but now the Blue, Black and Whites find themselves second in the Premiership and are just four wins away from securing their first play-off appearance since 2020.

These wins won’t come easily though. They face Exeter this weekend at Sandy Park, just a week after their 21-15 defeat in the Champions Cup to the same opposition. Bath also have to fend off Saracens, Newcastle and Northampton to make sure of their involvement in the end of season showcase.

Speaking to Rugby Nause News today, Scottish international Bayliss detailed his side have ‘more belief’ than they’ve ever had previously.

“There’s more belief within the guys,” he said. “It’s not just a ‘we’ll see what happens’ sort of thing;  it’s more ‘we’re good enough to do this, this is what we’ve done’.”

He added: “It’s very process driven, we’re aiming for top four. We’re doing all right at the moment and there’s a lot more belief in the squad than I’ve ever felt before.”

Josh Bayliss on the impact of Johann van Graan

Credit: IMAGO

Since Head of Rugby Johann van Graan arrived in 2022, he has overseen a dramatic shift both on and off the pitch.

In his first season in charge, Bath secured a place in the Champions Cup, and this campaign look set to make the play-offs for the first time in four years.

Van Graan has also changed things behind the scenes, but Bayliss said this came in small chunks.

“When Johann came in there wasn’t a massive change. He didn’t say ‘right this is how everything’s got to change’. He set out his plan and the way we wanted to do things on and off the field.”

Bayliss added: “He’s been here for almost two years now. It’s gone quickly, but we’ve come a long way. It’s hard to pinpoint a particular thing that’s happened, which is in my eyes is incredibly powerful. There’s been lots of different culture shifts which ultimately has culminated in where we are at the moment.”

Van Graan’s project looks set to go up a gear this summer too. Bath have recently announced a string of contract renewals, including Bayliss, and the flanker feels this is the start of a major project at the Rec.

“Look at the boys that have re-signed over the last few months. It shows you that the guys want to be part of this team. Everyone’s in for the long run.”