New deal for New Zealander
By Ben Blackmore. Last Updated: 27/04/06 10:04am
Bath have rewarded winger Joe Maddock for a much-improved season with a new two-year contract.
Maddock experienced a tough first campaign at the Rec as persistent hamstring problems limited his involvement in first team action.
This season has seen the New Zealander make a much bigger impact at the club, and four tries from 16 appearances signals a return to his better form.
Bath still believe there is plenty more to come from the 27-year-old, who earned a fearsome reputation in his time with the Canterbury Crusaders, scoring 25 tries in 31 matches.
After the Kiwi had penned his new deal, head coach Brian Ashton commented: "I am delighted that Joe Maddock has extended his contract with Bath Rugby.
"He has played particularly well in the second half of the season in a number of positions and he is a back-three player who should add some excitement to our game next season."
Maddock's return to form coincided with Ashton's arrival at the club - halfway through the season, which has given more freedom to the Bath backs.
Former boss John Connolly adopted a far more regimented approach, but the likes of Maddock, Andrew Higgins and David Bory have clearly benefited from the attacking ideas of Ashton.
"Working under Brian has been a very positive one for me and he has instilled a lot of confidence in the team," revealed Maddock.
"He has shown us that we don't have to revert to type and play forward-orientated rugby and has helped to show us that there is a lot of talent across the team.
"My first season at Bath was a very frustrating one for me. Since then I have seen my confidence grow, I am back in shape and my body is handling the rigours of being a professional rugby player much better.
"I can feel myself getting back to the old Joe, the one before I came here, and I am enjoying my rugby."