Jonathan Joseph is aiming for European glory while Bath center wants to move on after England’s ax

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Jonathan Joseph is aiming for the first club prize of his career as Bath prepares for the European Challenge Cup semi-final, with Bath center desperate to move on after the shock of his shock from England in January.

  • Jonathan Joseph had been a mainstay of Eddie Jones’s English regime for many years
  • He was expelled from the national team in January, ahead of the Six Nations
  • Joseph is looking for the first club prize of his career as a means of moving forward

Jonathan Joseph is on the hunt for the first club prize of his career as a means of putting his abrupt relegation in England behind him early this year.

The 29-year-old Bath center was a mainstay of Eddie Jones’ regime for years, but was kicked out of the national team in January, ahead of the Six Nations.

Joseph was apparently stung by the setback and violated COVID protocols by meeting players from another household, earning him a two-game ban and a club fine.

Bath Center Jonathan Joseph is looking for the first club prize of his career

Leading up to Bath’s semifinal in the European Challenge Cup with Montpellier in The Rec on Saturday, Joseph was asked if he had been thrown overboard and said: ‘It was difficult at first. It was the first time I’d been dropped properly.

‘The first week was tough. It’s pretty hard to take, but you get back on the horse. I still play the game I loved since I was a kid, I’m in a great club with huge potential, so life could be a lot worse. ‘

After winning 54 Test caps, Joseph has agreed that he was out of favor internationally and the possibility that his time is up.

“Eddie is in charge and he clearly doesn’t think I’m good enough right now,” he said.

The 29-year-old had been a mainstay of Eddie Jones' regime for years, but was disbanded in January

The 29-year-old had been a mainstay of Eddie Jones’ regime for years, but was disbanded in January

All I can do is worry about my form in Bath. That’s all I’m focusing on right now. I’m a realist and there aren’t many players who drop out of that squad who come back in – so I’m not waiting for a call.

‘I’m in Bath, I love it here and try to put in my best performance and make this team a great team. Everything goes to Bath. ‘

Bath last won a trophy – the Challenge Cup – in 2008, years before Joseph came from London Irish. He is thus driven by the desire to add this European title to the medals he has earned with England.

“It would be a lot of fun to do it,” he said. ‘It’s really all that’s left. It would mean everything, eight years in Bath now. This club means a lot to me, I have great friends here and many are leaving. To win something with them and celebrate the occasion would be something really special.

Warren Gatland will appoint his Lions squad shortly, but the roster may be out of Joseph's reach

Warren Gatland will appoint his Lions squad shortly, but the roster may be out of Joseph’s reach

‘You can go through your entire career without winning anything and it is not until you are thirty that you realize how great the opportunity was that you had.

I remember the 2015 Premiership final when Kyle Eastmond said this was our best chance to win silverware. ‘This is it’. Me and Anthony (Watson) were like, “No, certainly not, we have next year, the year after …”.

‘But those years come and go, so you have to give everything. You can’t think about next year because you never know what might happen. The Lions tour selection may be out of Joseph’s reach, but it will produce an intriguing subplot for some of the Saturday night home players on duty.

Taulupe Faletau, Bath’s Welsh backup rower, is a sure bet for inclusion in the 36-man squad, but others will take this last chance to make a good impression for head coach Warren Gatland, Gregor Townsend and Steve Tandy, all of which are present at The Rec.

It is still believed that places are up for grabs in certain areas, including the back row and the back three, so that will draw the attention of England flanker Sam Underhill and Watson – who are lining up as a fullback but just at home feels on the wing.

Both men know that a convincing performance in this clash with the heavyweight French opposition could land them a call-up to South Africa.

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