Oakley buzzing after taking his chance at Bath

FIRST START - Rhys Oakley was impressive at Bath (picture: Linda Dawson)
FIRST START - Rhys Oakley was impressive at Bath (picture: Linda Dawson)

Rhys Oakley admits he revelled in the fast and furious nature of his first Premiership start for Saints.

Oakley, who signed on at Franklin’s Gardens this summer, helped Northampton get the better of Bath in a hard-fought 18-14 victory at The Recreation Ground on Friday night.

The Wales international had appeared from the bench in the win against Exeter five days earlier, but was thrust into the action from the start at Bath after Gerrit-Jan van Velze was slapped with a four-week ban earlier in the week.

And Oakley made the most of his opportunity, putting in a steady 55-minute showing before being replaced by England star Courtney Lawes.

“It was superb,” said the former Leeds Carnegie No.8. “It was a fantastic game and I was just really glad to be involved.

“It’s just good to be back in the Premiership; it was fast, furious - exactly the sort of game I would have expected from the Premiership, especially at Bath.

“We maybe struggled in certain facets of the game, but showed our strength in still being able to come through with the win.”

Saints secured their third Premiership success in as many games this season thanks to 15 points from the boot of Stephen Myler and a Tom May drop goal.

It was a real scrap in the final five minutes as the away side eventually held out, but Oakley says that only serves to illustrate the spirit in the Saints camp.

He said: “You don’t come to places like this and always play your best rugby. I think you’ve just got to grind things out sometimes and just do what you can do - defend hard, make your tackles, stay close and if you can pinch the win at the end of the game then happy days.

“We’re a resilient bunch who have worked hard through pre-season and we’ve got a lot of strength in depth and strength of character to stick in these games.”