Ex-captain Michael Lipman welcomes return to Bath

Michael Lipman
Lipman joined Bath from Bristol in 2003

Former Bath captain Michael Lipman says he had "mixed emotions" about making his return to the Rec.

The 31-year-old flanker now plays for Melbourne Rebels, who take on Bath in a pre-season friendly on Friday.

"At first, when I came down the hill into Bath it was a bit of mixed emotions but now things are a lot clearer," he told BBC Radio Bristol.

"It's going to be interesting walking in and turning left at the changing room - I'm not sure if I like that."

Lipman, who was born in London but grew up in Australia, spent six seasons with Bath and made 86 appearances for the club as well receiving 10 England caps.

But his time at Bath came to an abrupt end in June 2009, when he resigned from the club along with Alex Crockett, his co-captain, and Andrew Higgins, amid allegations of refusing to take drug tests.

All three players were found guilty of misconduct by the Rugby Football Union and received a nine-month ban.

He unsuccessfully appealed the suspension two months later and was not allowed to play again until February 2010.

Lipman then linked up with Warringah in his hometown of New South Wales before joining Super 15 side Rebels in May.

Despite his acrimonious exit from the Rec, Lipman still holds fond memories of his time in the West country.

"I'm so happy to be back, I didn't think I would miss it as much as I have. It's a home away from home and you can't help but miss that," he said.

"I expect the crowd to be passionate. If people want to throw out a few sledges here and there, I wouldn't be disappointed.

"I gave a lot of time and the fans have stuck by me for so many years. It's been such a great environment for me. It made me into the player I am, and I thank them for that."

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