Rugby Union

Stuart Hooper targets success with Bath

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Bath captain Stuart Hooper feels his side will learn from their experiences last season ahead of the new Aviva Premiership campaign.

Hooper - who will retain the captaincy for the upcoming season - is hoping the team will use their recent lack of silverware as inspiration as they prepare to make an assault on three separate fronts.

A long wait

Bath haven't won a trophy since 2008, but Hooper is hoping they can turn that around sooner rather than later.

He told BBC Radio Bristol: "We didn't get the silverware we wanted but when you look back on it with a more analytical view, rather than an emotional one, you can see that there was huge progress.

"We've now got the experience. We've now played knock-out rugby and we've got to a final. We've been in that situation where we've competed for trophies so it's a good mindset for the boys to be in."

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A fifth-place finish in the Aviva Premiership last season means Bath qualified for the inaugural European Rugby Champions Cup, which replaces the Heineken Cup as the premier club competition in Europe.

Hooper is in his seventh year with the club but says leading his side out against the best sides Europe has to offer will be the highlight of his career.

"It's massively exciting. I was eagerly anticipating the draw and it's fantastic to get back in that arena," he added.

Make history

"It's where we want to be and where the people of Bath want us to be. We paved the way for a lot of success over the years. With the new Champions Cup, we want to go out there and forge our own history.

"It's the inaugural year of the competition so it's a clean slate and everyone is looking to get their name on the trophy straight away."

Bath begin their Premiership campaign with a trip to Sale, before newly-promoted London Welsh make the trip to the Rec.

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