It has been a long time away from the field for Ruaridh McConnochie but the England international is relishing his return to The Rec on Wednesday night.
The 30-year-old will line up on the right wing for Bath Rugby against Gloucester in the Premiership Rugby Cup (kick-off 19:45) – his first competitive outing for eight months.
McConnochie did appear in pre-season against Jersey Reds and after realising his knee was in a ‘good place’, it has been a process of conditioning to get back to match fitness.
He will be the oldest Bath player for the midweek encounter and while there may be some new faces on the teamsheet, the former Sevens flyer is confident it will be another West Country derby for fans to be excited about.
“It may not be the regular faces people see every week and it may be the Premiership Rugby Cup but it’s still Bath v Gloucester at The Rec and it’s a hugely exciting occasion.
“We’ve got a young team and there will be mistakes but it’s about having the intent and attitude to be relentless and keep going again; it’s a derby day at the end of the day. Hopefully there will be a lot of energy!
“It will just be nice to be playing and help the squad as much as I can. We have to get up for it. It’s a massively exciting game to be a part of and you feel in the Captain’s Run that the boys are excited.”
Gloucester have fielded a side with a mixture of youth and experience which includes returning England internationals Jonny May and Lewis Ludlow as well as Italy flanker Jake Polledri.
McConnochie acknowledges Bath will need to ‘front up’ to the challenge.
“It will be good for myself to go up against Jonny. I roomed with him for about eight weeks a few summers ago so I know him well!
“I didn’t expect to see Lewis Ludlow, their captain, back; he’s been inspirational for them. They’ll have Jake Polledri in the back row who is good around the pitch and a good ball carrier.
“It’s a tough game and it’s a challenge for us but we want to front up.”