Bath captain Stuart Hooper looks to impress new coaches

Bath captain Stuart Hooper believes each member of the squad must impress new head coach Gary Gold and his team to earn their place in the side.

Gold has taken over after a frustrating season under former director of rugby Sir Ian McGeechan, which saw the side finish eighth in the Premiership.

"Essentially it is a blank sheet of paper again," he told BBC Points West.

I think teams have a cycle and whether the players change or the coaches change, those changes do need to happen now and again

Stuart Hooper Bath captain

"We start from zero. Everyone's got to impress, train well and, ultimately, play well," the 30-year-old added.

"Obviously as we found out who was going to be coaching us it was hugely exciting and everyone's looking to impress each and every one of them."

Hooper, a former Saracens and Leeds lock, was appointed club captain last season but featured just 13 times after suffering a succession of injuries.

As well as a disappointing Premiership finish, Bath also failed to progress out of their Heineken Cup group, but Hooper believes having a settled squad can help them next season.

Four new players have been brought in, the latest being winger Horacio Agulla, and despite a host of retirements including Duncan Bell and Lewis Moody, few players are departing the Rec.

BATH INS AND OUTS 2012/13

Ins

Rob Webber (Wasps), Dominic Day (Scarlets), Paul James (Ospreys), Horacio Agulla (Leicester)

Outs

Matt Carraro (Montpellier), Andy Beattie, Duncan Bell, Chris Biller, David Flatman, Scott Hobson, Lewis Moody (all retired), Pieter Dixon (released)

"I think teams have a cycle and whether the players change or the coaches change, those changes do need to happen now and again, and if you change one it's best not to change too much of the other," Hooper added.

"We've done that this year, we've obviously had wholesale changes throughout the coaching department but very, very few out the playing department.

"I look back to last season when we played Sale away and I looked around the changing room and there was only one person who played who was leaving.

"When you experience things like that with players, you know you're not coming in and starting completely from scratch again, you've really got a foundation.

"You know what each other do during games, you know how each other react as human beings and you can really build on that."