Leroy Houston happy to be back at Bath after dream return to action
Leroy Houston relished his return to Bath duty after he was the bonus-point try hero in a 37-22 win over Worcester as the home team went top of the Aviva Premiership.
The Australian number eight returned to Bath this week on loan from Queensland Reds, arriving in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
He did not discover he was starting the Worcester game until just before his first training session on Thursday.
"It felt like I had never left. I was just happy to be back with the boys," said Houston, who was treated to a welcoming roar from the Bath supporters as he ran out at the Recreation Ground.
"The support here is unbelievable. I'm still on a high because they show me so much love. I didn't expect to score a try at all."
Houston's return is a relatively brief one, as he said: "I'm here for six weeks, just covering for Taulupe Faletau, until he gets back from injury. Then I'm back to Australia with the Reds. I'm hoping to get back into contention for the Wallaby autumn tour coming up."
Asked if he thought Australia coach Michael Cheika was keeping an eye on him, Houston said: "I'm not too sure. He's got heaps to concentrate on at the moment. If he's not, I'm not sad about it. But fingers crossed, he is."
Bath director of rugby Todd Blackadder said of Houston: "I knew there was no better way to get him engaged than just go out there and play and enjoy himself. He's older, experienced and mentally tough."
Blackadder conceded that Bath did not have things all their own way, especially in the first half when they fell 17-6 behind.
"We were certainly put under the pump. Worcester were outstanding in that first half. We let them play around us too easily but we'll take a lot out of that," Blackadder said.
"It wasn't a rant and a rave at half-time, just about simple things to put our game right - to carry hard and have really good clean-outs and quick ball."
Bath's other tries came from England wing Anthony Watson, Matt Banahan and Semesa Rokoduguni. George Ford converted all four, having kicked three penalties.
The hosts' main injury worry from the game concerned flanker David Sisi who went off with a shoulder injury after six minutes.
Worcester head coach Carl Hogg said: "I thought in the first half we were excellent. Ball in hand, we showed real enterprise and caused Bath some issues defensively.
"The game obviously swung on a 10-minute window in the second half when we made back-to-back errors and someone of George Ford's quality exploited it.
"We showed great endeavour in our first two games against Sale and Gloucester, predominantly defensively. But ball in hand we showed real threat and looked very lively. In the second half we didn't get so many opportunities.
"I think we did enough to get something out of the game."
Reflecting on the youthful back-line he was forced to field, Hogg added: "We did have teenagers out there like Jamie Shillcock and Dean Hammond. Unfortunately, we lost Dean to injury but we brought on another teenager in Josh Adams.
"It's great experience for them to play here at the Rec against a side with so many international players. It will stand them in good stead."