Will Spencer aims to put two disappointing years at Leicester behind him as he prepares to come full circle and reunite with coaches Stuart Hooper and Neal Hatley at the Rec.
Heavyweight lock Spencer failed to achieve lift-off with England during his time at Welford Road but the 28-year-old enforcer will head back to Bath with fire in his nostrils.
Spencer, who worked with Hatley in London Irish’s academy before joining Bath for the first time in 2011, said: “I’ve been disappointed the last two years of my career haven’t gone as I’d have liked but I still want to kick-on and Bath is the best place for me.
“As soon as I spoke to Stuart and Neal, I knew coming back to work with these guys was the right thing to do. ‘Hoops’ was my captain for the whole time I was at Bath before and was someone I looked up to a lot. He was brilliant for developing my game and I had the utmost respect for him, so to get the chance to work with him again is fantastic.
“I worked with ‘Hats’ from the age of 15 at London Irish and we both came to Bath after that, so the chance to link-up for a third time is special too. I’m only 28 and still ambitious – I have aspirations to break into that England squad and they’ll help me.”
Spencer faces stiff competition with fellow England hopefuls Charlie Ewels, Elliott Stooke and Josh McNally to battle past at Bath, but he added: “I think the club is going in the right direction and they’re a really young squad of English players who are desperate to succeed.
“In the second row, Charlie has been phenomenal and has a good few caps now, Elliott has been close to a first cap and Josh has been outstanding for Bath – a really big, physical specimen who is also pushing for higher honours, so it’s going to be tough.
“Just being in the matchday squad at Bath is going to be a challenge but you want guys who are pushing each other and that’s only going to help you. There are four very experienced locks and guys like Tom Ellis and Mike Williams can play both second and back row, so there’s going to be fantastic strength-in-depth and I’m looking forward to that battle for places.
“It feels like I’m coming full circle and, in my heart, I knew I’d love to get back to Bath one day. When I was 18 or 19, I wanted to spend my whole career there, but I had a terrible time with injuries and was never able to establish myself so I needed to move in 2016.
“It was definitely the right decision because I had a fantastic two years at Worcester and then earned the move to Leicester. I’d like to have done better there, but I still played for a great club with great people and coming back to Bath now feels like it’s just meant to be.”
While Leicester have struggled, Spencer is backing Tigers to roar back.
He said: “It’s difficult to put your finger on why we struggled. With the good players and coaches we had we should have done a lot better, but Leicester have been in transition for a while and they’re undergoing another rebuild now.
“With Steve Borthwick coming in, I’m sure it won’t be long before they get back up there.”