Abendanon looking to end on a high with Bath

Bath’s Nick Abendanon is aiming to bow out of his final season with Bath by landing a domestic and European double before joining French club Clermont.

South-west side Bath welcome Northampton to the Recreation Ground on Friday for a Premiership match that will act as a warm-up for the two English teams’ European Challenge Cup final in Cardiff later this month.

Victory over second-placed Northampton would strengthen Bath’s grip on a top-four play-off place ahead of their final regular season Premiership match against Harlequins next week.

“No matter what happens, I can certainly say that I have had a great time at Bath and have really enjoyed my time here,” former England full-back Abendanon said Thursday.

“So there is no need for me to try and end on a high, but having said that I would love nothing more than to end with silverware,” added the 27-year-old, who won both his two England caps in 2007.

“This is such a great club and it is well set up to have success, and everyone at the club is determined to get Bath back to the top.

“We have the Amlin Challenge Cup final to look forward to, and now we have to make sure we get into the top four (of the Premiership).”

Abendanon said the future for Bath was bright given the form this season of rising stars such as fly-half George Ford and full-back/wing Anthony Watson.

“George Ford is the best fly-half at his age that I have ever seen. He is a 35-year-old in an 18-year-old’s body,” Abendanon said.

“Anthony Watson has been great for us. He is fast and direct and is a real asset to have at the back.

“Credit to the coaches as they have dealt with them really well and I am excited to see what they can both do in the future.”

Bath captain Stuart Hooper will make his 200th Premiership appearance when Northampton arrive at the Recreation Ground.

But Wales wing George North misses out for Northampton due to injury, with Saints boss Jim Mallinder making five changes from the side that beat Harlequins in the Challenge Cup semi-final last Friday.

Ben Foden, Ken Pisi and Luther Burrell all return together with lock Courtney Lawes and flanker Tom Wood, who captains the team.

Victory for Northampton would secure a home Premiership play-off later this month, while a bonus point win for Bath would guarantee a last-four place

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