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Bath add Regan Grace to European roster; Sale re-sign WillGriff John

By Jon Newcombe
Regan Grace, St Helens and Huddersfield Giants at Emerald Headingley Stadium on May 7, 2021 (Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Regan Grace appears to be even closer to making his competitive debut for Bath after the winger was added to the high-flying Premiership club’s Champions Cup roster on Thursday.

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The former St Helens star, who scored 88 tries in 144 appearances for the Super League side, signed a short-term, rehab-based deal with Bath until the end of the season in February as he tries to rebuild his career following two injury-ravaged seasons.

Grace, still only 27, made a headline-grabbing code switch in 2022 when he signed for Racing 92, however, the speedster ruptured his Achilles as his League career drew to a close and never appeared for the glamorous Paris outfit.

If he does play against Exeter Chiefs in the Round of 16 Champions Cup clash, it would also be his competitive rugby union debut – unless he plays in this weekend’s Premiership match against Harlequins first.

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Bath fans saw Grace’s potential in his first appearance in the blue, black and white jersey in the 59-19 friendly win over Gloucester three weeks ago. But he failed to make the matchday 23 in Bath’s 42-24 win over Sale last Sunday.

While he failed to get on the scoresheet against Gloucester, Grace’s footwork and agility with ball in hand was one of the features of the match and drew praise from Head of Rugby Johann van Graan. “He has something special inside him,” the South African said afterwards.

Gloucester were also impressed and the latest Fissler Confidential column reported that the Cherry & Whites are vying with their West Country rivals for his contract for next season.

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Bath have also added recently signed loose forward Jacques du Plessis to their European roster, while Champions Cup opponents Exeter have registered full-back Dan John, son of Wales 2009 World Cup 7s-winning coach Paul John, and former Coventry centre Will Rigg.

Meanwhile, Wales international WillGriff John has returned to Sale Sharks as tight-head cover for Nick Schonert. Schonert underwent surgery on a bone spur on his Achilles on Tuesday and has been ruled out for the season.

John made nearly 100 appearances for the Sharks in a four-season stay in the North West before leaving to join the Scarlets. He arrives back at Sale after a short spell in France with Racing 92 and Montauban.

Flanker Cam Neild is another returnee in contention for a place in the squad for the Cup tie against Ospreys at the Brewery Field on Saturday, April 6th now that he has been registered for Europe.

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Knockout stage EPCR registration – additional players

Investec Champions Cup

Bath Rugby: Regan Grace (Wing), Jacques du Plessis (back row/second row); Exeter Chiefs: Dan John (Full-back/wing), Will Rigg (Centre); Leicester Tigers: Tim Hoyt (Prop), Tom Manz (Second row); La Rochelle: Alexandre Kaddouri (Prop), Thierry Paiva (Prop); Toulouse: Benjamin Bertrand (Prop), Paul Mallez (Prop), Marco Trauth (Prop); Union Bordeaux-Bègles: Toma Taufa (Prop)

EPCR Challenge Cup

Bayonne: Mateo Carreras (Wing), Pierre Castillon (Prop); Montpellier: Christopher Tolofua (Hooker); Ospreys: Chris Moore (Hooker); Sale Sharks: Hyron Andrews (Second row), WillGriff John (Prop), Cameron Neild (Back row); Pau: Simon-Pierre Chauvac (Prop); Toyota Cheetahs: Jeandre Rudolph (Back row), Victor Sekekete (Second row); Zebre Parma: Josh Kaifa (Back row).

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