As Round 7 was finishing a press release landed in inboxes around the country announcing the Bath Rugby had signed Dan Bowden with immediate effect. Dan is an individual that London Irish and Leicester Tigers fans will remember well from his time at both clubs and is a strong bit of business for Mike Ford's side.
Bath's First Team Coach Toby Booth describes their new recruit as an 'obsessive' rugby player. Dan has kept in touch with both Toby and Neal that worked with him at London Irish and often calls former team-mate George Ford to review and talk about certain matches, plays and games. Toby believes this immersion in the game and first for knowledge is a wholly positive thing and something that will add greatly to the current Bath squad;
"As a player himself he is an 'obsessive' sort of player and by that I mean he has a massive thirst for knowledge and a thirst for the game. It is as much from a leadership point for view for the group as much as anything else because what he will do is he will drive people's preparation to be at the same standard as his. Coaches will tell you the more 'obsessive' type of players that you have got, it moves that culture of wanting to improve and wanting to get better and he will certainly do that."
So, on the pitch, what will Bowden deliver? Well during his time at London Irish where he played the greater amount of Premiership Rugby he highlighted great hands, a natural ability to read and manage games with ease and a competitive edge that spurs himself and those around him on. The fly-half/centre isn't afraid to exert himself physically on his opponents and won't take too long to settle back into Premiership ways.
Of course Bath Rugby aren't short of personnel in their backline however with the RBS 6 Nations on the horizon and there being many more rounds of Aviva Premiership played during that time than ever before it is a sensible move for the side to bring in someone of Dan's calibre. There's no secret about the fact that Bath Rugby have some funds to use after Sam Burgess' move back to the NRL and the opportunity to sign Dan, specifically, is a strong use of some of their current financial position.
Toby Booth and Neal Hatley have both kept in contact with the 29-year-old and believe that he has a 'natural fit' with the West Country side. Speaking of the move the fly-half/centre highlighted his excitement to be heading back to the Aviva Premiership;
"I know what a tough, entertaining competition the Aviva Premiership is, so I can't wait to get back to England and get started with Bath," said Bowden. "There will be some familiar faces there as well, which is always good - guys like George Ford, who I played with at Tigers, and Toby Booth and Neal Hatley, who I worked with at Irish."
The final word on this one is watch this space; Dan Bowden is an experienced and classy operator and should fit well into Bath's backline.