Stuart Hooper’s Bath have unveiled their squad for the 2020/21 Gallagher Premiership season, confirming 16 players are leaving, including ex-skipper Matt Garvey, announcing three more new signings and revealing that out-of-favour England prop Henry Thomas has signed a contract extension.
The club’s new intake includes Saracens’ Ben Spencer, the scrum-half agreeing to a three-year deal. Second row Will Spencer, who came through the academy at Bath, will also return to the Premiership club following stints at Worcester and more recently Leicester.
And Bath have further recruited front row Juan Schoeman from the Super Rugby Sharks – the 28-year-old was a Junior World Cup winner with South Africa – and they have also offered Josh Matavesi, who arrived mid-season from Newcastle, an extension.
Seven other players have signed contract extensions with the Premiership outfit, prop forward Thomas, Max Clark and Max Green all following Sam Underhill, Max Wright, Jack Walker and Tom Ellis who recommitted their Bath futures earlier this year.
Meanwhile, 15 players have been released while recent World Cup winner Francois Louw is retiring. Among the departures who have secured contracts elsewhere are Sam Nixon, who has signed for Bayonne, Freddie Burns is going to Shokki Shuttles, Chris Cook is joining Bristol and Jackson Willison is bound for Soyaux.
“I sat in endless meetings where the talk was about wanting homegrown talent, people from Bath – yet I didn’t get given an opportunity”
– @FreddieBurns tells @heagneyl how it fizzled out for him at @bathrugby and why @shokki is an adventure he craves ???https://t.co/c3Iqqo3so2
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) May 6, 2020
Director of rugby Hooper said: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to our departing players for everything they have given to our club. As a group, we have enjoyed seeing them perform and they have all made their mark in the jersey. I would like to share my personal thanks to Matt Garvey, our club captain for two seasons for his care, passion and performances for the club.
“This season is strange and due to rugby not being played, we do not have the same opportunity to deliver the traditional send-off at the Rec. We wish these lads well for their futures and share many memories that will last a lifetime.
“Our recruitment this year brings us the opportunity to build on our start of 19/20, to continue to develop our game and keep building the relationships that will drive us. Ben, Will and Juan all bring strong attributes which will develop our game. They are all crucially young men who want to improve and be part of our success.
“I feel incredibly proud of our pathway and the quality we are delivering there, to bring seven players up this season is testament to the players themselves but also the work of the academy staff over many years.
“To add seven more homegrown players into our full-time environment is a great sign of commitment to our vision and to the talented young men who exist in our region.
“Our recruitment cycle is not completely finished yet, we continue to work on our squad and this year presents opportunities not found in other cycles. The fact remains that we will not bring just anyone into the environment. They must be the right fit not only for the short term but for future years.”
— MD Hotline (@MDHotline) February 16, 2020
Ben Spencer (Saracens), Will Spencer (Leicester Tigers), Juan Schoeman (The Sharks), Josh Matavesi (Mid Season signing and extension – Newcastle Falcons), Cameron Redpath (Mid Season Signing – Sale Sharks).
Promoted to senior squad
Senior academy intake
Orlando Bailey, Gabe Goss. John Stewart, Ethan Staddon, Ewan Richards, Frankie Read, Tom Carr-Smith.
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