In­ter­view ‘Quite of­ten I’m the only black per­son’

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Rugby Union - By Ben Coles

world works, it’s the so­ci­ety we live in. I don’t re­ally have a prob­lem with it. It’s just the way it is and I ac­cept it for the way it is, and kind of en­joy it. It’s not a bad thing, if that makes sense.

“[The play­ers] spoke to me when ev­ery­thing was hap­pen­ing, when the ri­ots went down and the rest of it, they mes­saged me and spoke to me gen­er­ally, and then ob­vi­ously things like [squad dy­nam­ics] came up. It wasn’t off the back of the pod­cast, they re­alised them­selves and spoke to me about it.”

Nearly all of Bath’s play­ers took a knee be­fore fac­ing Northamp­ton – apart from Semesa Roko­duguni, a lance cor­po­ral in the Army – and Obano has been per­plexed by the in­sults that Pre­mier­ship play­ers opt­ing not to do so have re­ceived on so­cial media.

“I sit on Twit­ter some­times and think, ‘How do peo­ple get so up­set with these things over peo­ple you don’t know’?

“I don’t think any­one should re­ceive abuse, ever. We can have con­struc­tive con­ver­sa­tions about why some­one has done some­thing.”

On the field

Obano is fly­ing, and the 25-year-old be­lieves his per­for­mances are even bet­ter than when he was close to a first cap for Eng­land in 2018, be­fore he was ruled out for nine months by a se­ri­ous knee in­jury. Un­der in­struc­tions from club and coun­try, he used lock­down to drop some weight. He would fast un­til 2pm and then stop eat­ing by 10pm, a rou­tine he main­tained for three months.

Obano was back train­ing with Eng­land dur­ing the Six Na­tions and is still wait­ing for his first cap, but his per­for­mances since the restart have put him back in the pic­ture. With their pack and de­fence thriv­ing, Bath have reeled off three straight wins since the restart, bul­ly­ing their way into the top four ahead of fac­ing play-off ri­vals Wasps to­day. Be­lief within the group is build­ing.

“I strug­gle to see how peo­ple would work so hard if we didn’t think we could win the ti­tle, with the way we are work­ing and train­ing,” Obano says. “We are do­ing so much good work that I think ev­ery­one be­lieves it.”

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