Fruean settles after first Bath start

Date published: January 16 2017

Robbie Fruean was pleased with his first 80 minute outing on the big stage in almost two years, helping Bath beat Bristol in the Challenge Cup.

Fruean also scored one of his side’s eight tries as Bath routed Bristol 57-22 at Ashton Gate last Friday.

He admitted to the Bath Chronicle that the plan was for him to come off midway through the second half, but when Jonathan Joseph started cramping up he realised he would need to conserve his energy.

“It was a big ask as it was the first 80 minutes I’ve played in about two years, so it’s been a long time coming, but it was actually good to get it under my belt,” Fruean said.

“I wanted to get it out of the way so I can move forward from here and with the try I was just happy that Fordy saw I was available and just popped it to me.

“The coaches did warn me that they were going to pull me off about half way through the second half, so I just went hard for that first 20 minutes.

“But then I think I might have used up most of my energy and when I saw JJ was cramping up I was like ‘Oh, I think it’s going to be 80 minutes’ so I had to pace myself.”

Fruean seemed to click well with George Ford and Kahn Fotuali’i on his inside and Fruean did acknowledge playing with such talented players made it easier for him.

“It just makes my job a lot easier,” he said. “I’m able to do the things that they were asking me to do and just provided them with good front foot ball so they could free the backs out wide.

“Rocco and Anthony are just speed on the outside, so you need to release them and it was good.”

Fruean has played at outside centre for most of his career, but was deployed at inside centre against Bristol, partnering with Joseph on his outside.

“I don’t mind playing 12,” Fruean said. “In regards to how coaches have used me in the past, my role doesn’t really change whether I’m at 12 or 13.

“The only thing that changes is the defensive reads around making sure that you’re not getting caught on the inside and that you are covering your centre. Other than that the roles are really the same.”

Fruean said the outcome of Pool 4 is now in Bath’s hands, with Todd Blackadder’s side facing one final test against Pau at the Rec next week.

“It’s most definitely in our hands now,” he said. “Pau are not going to be easy so we just have to regroup on Monday and just figure out the areas of our game they may come at.

“We have to make sure we fix those areas up and hopefully get another good win next week.”