We took advantage of our position as Official Solicitors to Bath Rugby to chat with our sponsored player, Andy Beattie.
What do you think about the new training headquarters in Farleigh?
It’s an outstanding facility, first class. When Bruce Craig brought it and we [the Bath Rugby team] first went out there, we were all in complete shock. It is a massive manor house with beautiful woodlands. It’s going to be an amazing, first-class rugby venue when the pitches are ready and the gym and the medical suite is finished. Farleigh will be an elite high performance training centre and, hopefully, attract the best players to Bath.
Do you think other players look at the facilities and think Bath Rugby is a team they would like to play for?
Yes, I’m sure any player would want to come to a club with such ambition.
Also, I think it is important for the younger academy players who live locally. They look at the facilities and think it is something to aim for, that they would love to be a part of it.
Farleigh House will be pretty special and, when it is fully completed, which should be at the end of this season, it’s going to be something to behold.
If you had the ability to sign anyone for Bath who is NOT currently playing in the premiership, who would it be?
I’m a massive fan of a number 8 that plays for New Zealand, Kieran Read. Everyone would say the Dan Carters but we have just signed Stephen Donald, a fly half, he is probably better, I would say. But Kieran Read number 8 for New Zealand, he is really good.
What are your predictions for the season – Aviva Premiership, Heineken Cup and Lv Cup?
Our aim is to finish in the top 4 of the Premiership, that would get us into the play offs, semi-finals and, hopefully, on to the final. Top 2 would be a bonus but, top 4 is our priority.
Heineken Cup: we are in a tough group with the current champions Leinster. We want to qualify from our group; then anything can happen.
The LV Cup: again we need to win our group and progress as much as we can.
Who do you think are the biggest competition?
In the Premiership, I would say Leicester or Saracens; they were in the final last year. It’s really hot in the premiership right now, any one could beat anyone. In Europe, the best sides are Toulouse and Leinster, they are the ones to beat. And the home-grown sides like Leicester and Northampton. It’s tough, but we will be there, looking for silverware.
What is training like with World Cup players back? It must inject real energy into the team.
It’s great to have them back, and it does inject energy. Obviously, while they have been away, we have done well, but having them back is great. There are some of our key players so they bring a real buzz to training and, also, that element of competition back to training! Everyone has to step up and perform at the next level so it’s good that they are back.
Also, it’s great to have others, like South African, Francois Louw and New Zealands world cup winning hero Stephen Donald. They both played in the World Cup and they are with us now.
Out of the youngsters who are playing in the LV cup at the moment, who do you think is the most promising?
There are a couple. One of the guys that played in the last LV Cup game is Olly Woodburn, he has really taken his chance over the last couple of weeks and has done well enough to start the last few weekends. He started against London Irish and, again, he keeps his place. He is one of many youngsters that put their hand up to stake their claim for a place. Throughout the team, Kane Palma-Newport has done really well, and a guy called Neil, although that’s not his real name, that’s a nick name (Will Spencer). They have all done really well and that’s a credit to the academy system and the coaches, they have got these guys ready and they are all ready, or thereabouts, for a place on the first team.
What is your best moment as a sportsman?
My first game for Bath Rugby in 2001. Growing up, I saw a lot of the international players playing for Bath and to play alongside them was amazing.
It must be such a great team to play for because the whole city gets behind the rugby.
Yes, and it’s a stunning location. If you look around on a summer’s day and see the surroundings, the hills, it’s beautiful. What is good is that away fans love it as well. It’s a stone’s throw away from town, with loads of restaurants and bars. There is always a good buzz in town when the weather is good. It is an awesome place to play. There are not many places that are like this in the Premiership.
Who is your sporting hero?
Growing up, I used to like players like Dean Richards and Mike Teague.
Just rugby heroes, or, do you have other sporting heroes?
I love all sport. I am a big Arsenal fan so my heroes there are Ian Wright and Thierry Henry. I try and watch as many games as I can but it’s a bit of a problem, as they often play when we’re playing, so I try to go up mid-week. I love sport, I’ll watch anything: rugby, cricket, football.
What was your favourite non-sporting TV programme as a child?
As a child, I loved Only Fools and Horses, the A-Team, Bay Watch, all boy programmes really. It depends how young we are talking, I can remember the first programmes I watched, like Button Moon, Trumpton and Bagpuss. Bagpuss depressed me though. I loved watching things like Dogtanian and the Three Musketeers, Thunder Cats, Dungeons and Dragons, and shows like Biker Grove and Grange Hill too.
Now for a few quick fire questions, which do you prefer:
Staying in or going out?
Depends what day of the week. Staying in. Although, that’s probably a lie because I do like socialising!
Chinese or British roast?
Haagen Daz or Ben & Jerrys?
Ben & Jerrys because I had one this week which was naughty but so good!
Good book or good film?
Jeans and t-shirt or black tie?
Jeans and t-shirt
PC or Mac?
Tea or coffee?
Jennifer Aniston or Courtney Cox?
Follow Andy Beattie (@beastie6) on Twitter.