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Watson to captain Bath

Luke Watson has been appointed as Bath captain for the new season.

The South Africa number eight takes over the position from scrum-half Michael Claassens. Before accepting the invitation from head coach Steve Meehan, Watson was anxious to ensure he had the backing of Claassens and Bath's senior players.

"Michael took the team through some difficult times and laid an incredibly good foundation for us," said Watson. "It is a big honour and privilege, but it is also a big responsibility."

He added: "Having spoken with Steve, Michael and a lot of the other players, we have taken our time in coming to the decision and making sure that everyone is happy.

"It is very much about the team, about Bath, about the bigger picture. We never want to be too focused on individuals and that must resonate through every decision we make."

Claassens, who was appointed captain after last summer's drug scandal, will join David Flatman, Stuart Hooper, Danny Grewcock, Olly Barkley and Guy Mercer in Bath's senior leadership group.

Watson joined Bath in November having captained Western Province against the 2009 British and Irish Lions and the Stormers in the Super 14.

Meehan said: "There are a number of things that have to be taken into consideration when choosing a captain and for me Luke ticked all those boxes.

"But, when you are new to a club, you have to earn the respect of the players, you have to train hard, you have to play hard and I believe Luke has done that.

"Whilst Luke is captain for the up-and-coming season he will be working alongside six 'Section Leaders'."

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