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Bath squad backing Watson captaincy

Luke Watson only accepted the Bath captaincy after making sure he had the support of the club's senior players.

The 26-year-old has made such an impression since his arrival at the Recreation Ground in November that he was invited by head coach Steve Meehan to take over the leadership reins from Michael Claassens. But before accepting the Bath job, Watson asked Meehan to consult the squad and make sure they were fully behind his appointment.

"The players were very appreciative of being asked their opinion," said Meehan. "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."

He added: "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."

Watson has previous captaincy experience, having led Western Province against the 2009 British and Irish Lions and the Stormers in the Super 14.

The 10-cap Springbok arrived at Bath with a controversial reputation - but the fact there were no dissenting voices indicates strongly the regard in which he is held at The Rec.

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.

"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. 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."

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