Scotland international Jamie Bhatti has revealed that a training session with Edinburgh which brought him to tears spurred on his exit from the club.
Bhatti, who has won 16 caps for Scotland, had found himself as Edinburgh’s third-choice loosehead prop behind Pierre Schoeman and Rory Sutherland.
Despite making a steady run of appearances for his national team only a couple of years prior, Bhatti was finding game time hard to come by for Edinburgh and knew that he would have to leave the club to revive his career.
“I just stopped running and walked off. I went to my car and drove home. When I got to the house, I broke down, started greeting… I can’t do this anymore.
“F**k, I worked in a slaughterhouse for six years killing animals and there wasn’t one day I came home from that place and started crying.
“That’s how I was feeling at Edinburgh, mate. I knew I needed to get out of there,” Bhatti told RugbyPass in a wide-ranging interview.
‘I was told I was too heavy and not fit enough’
The Scot has signed for Bath in the Gallagher Premiership for the rest of the 2020-2021 season as injury cover for loosehead Lewis Boyce.
While Bhatti does not feel bitter about his time at Edinburgh, he felt that the effort he was putting in was not being rewarded by head coach Richard Cockerill.
“I wouldn’t pin it all on Edinburgh, it was an accumulation of things the past two years. The boys there are class. I left Glasgow, not sour, but a wee bit pissed off they didn’t want to keep me.
“I worked my nuts off when I got to Edinburgh but I just wasn’t getting the rewards for the work I was putting in. I kept getting told I was too heavy, not fit enough. Cockers told me if I got down to 118KG he’d start me.
“On a Sunday night, I would go and sauna for an hour, not eat afterwards, then sauna again on Monday morning, go into training dehydrated to hell just so my bodyweight would look right on paper.
“I wasn’t obsessive, but you knew the s**t you’d get if you went in a couple of kilos out. I won’t name names, but there were other boys in there the same as me – up in the gym doing a wattbike or cross-trainer session at 6am on Monday mornings, then an hour in the sauna, so you’re weighing in alright.
“It got to the stage where the strength and conditioning staff were standing at the scales every day to see you weigh in, or they had one of the interns stand and watch you. That’s just having nae trust in your players as adults,” Bhatti explained.
While Bhatti struggled to pin down a regular place in the match-day squad for Edinburgh in recent seasons, the hefty prop remains positive ahead of his stint with Bath.
— jamie bhatti (@jamiebhatti) December 21, 2020
“I just want to give the best account of myself on the pitch and around the place. If I do get a crack, you’re playing in the Premiership, one of the best leagues around, and the Champions Cup.
“It’s a good opportunity for me to put my hand up to them and to other clubs, and that’s it. I’m in the shop window down there, I’ve got a short period to show what I can do and my plan is to fire in and be the best version of myself,” Bhatti said.