Stooke out to grab his new chance
BEHEMOTH lock Elliott Stooke reckons the faith being shown in him by Bath’s coaches will help him deliver on his early career potential.
A Junior World Cup winner with England U20s in 2013, Stooke appeared to have the world at his feet as a second row enforcer.
But he struggled to get game time at Gloucester and was shunted on loan to London Irish in 2015-16. However, last summer’s move to Bath has revitalised him.
Stooke said: “Last year was a good one for me. The coaches showed a lot of faith in me and proved that if you’re good enough in training, you’ll get opportunities.
“At Gloucester, they’d probably have sat me on the bench and just chucked me on for ten minutes at the end. Now, though, I’m getting the nod most weeks and I’m a much better player for it.
“It was tough leaving Gloucester because I grew up supporting them, so coming to the local rivals was a really big decision. But I’d fallen by the wayside at Gloucester and the coaches weren’t willing to change much.”
He admits: “Being honest, I was probably happy being comfortable at Gloucester. But I looked in the mirror one day and said, ‘Come on mate, get your finger out and do what you’re capable of’. I’d become mediocre.”
At Bath Stooke, 24, is relishing the fight for a second row berth along with Test stars Luke Charteris, Charlie Ewels and Dave Attwood.
He said: “My foot’s firmly on the pedal. We’ve got huge competition and that’s something I welcome.
“I’ve had great support from our coaches. This is a huge season for me and I’m out to prove I can reach my full potential.”
Potential: Elliott Stooke