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Bath confirm four exits at end of season, including three props

By Josh Raisey
Juan Schoeman of Bath Rugby smiles during a Bath Rugby training session at Farleigh House on October 10, 2023 in Bath, England. (Photo by Patrick Khachfe/Getty Images)

Bath have confirmed that Johannes Jonker, Juan Schoeman, Kieran Verden, and Max Wright will all leave the club at the end of the season.

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Academy product Verden, 25, is one of three props leaving the Rec. He will depart with 16 appearances to his name after making his debut against Worcester Warriors four seasons ago.

“I just want to say a massive thank you to the fans, staff, and all the players at Bath Rugby,” he said.

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“I’ve absolutely loved my time at the club and having the opportunity to represent this city. To all the players I’ve played with, it’s been a pleasure and I’ll miss every one of you. Bath will always hold a special place in my heart. Plenty of work left to be done to finish where we want to and I’m proud to be a part of that.”

South African loosehead Schoeman, 32, has made the most appearances for the club out of the quartet of leavers, with 62 matches since arriving in 2020 from the Sharks.

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RugbyPass understand Schoeman, who is the older brother of Scotland prop Pierre, is wanted by United Rugby Championship outfit the Lions. 

“I’m eternally grateful to have been afforded the opportunity to wear the Blue, Black and White jersey and everyone and everything it resembles in the highs and lows with the support of family and friends, coaches who believed in me and helped me grow as a human being and as a rugby player,” he said.

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“Also for the management and staff who helped me return to, and maintain form on, the rugby pitch, and for the unwavering support of the fans.”

Schoeman’s compatriot Jonker signed from Ealing Trailfinders in 2021, and went on to play 27 times for the West Country outfit.

“As I say goodbye to Bath Rugby, I want to express my gratitude to everyone involved,” he said.

“Playing alongside such talented teammates and having the support of our amazing supporters has been a true honour. Thank you to all the coaches and staff that have helped me along the way. Special thanks to my wife, Kirsty, for her unwavering support and love throughout this journey. These experiences have made me a stronger and better person. Thank you for everything. Bath Rugby will always hold a special place in my heart. I wish the club well for the future.”

Bath have already recruited Leicester Tigers loosehead Francois van Wyk to partly fill the void left by the departing props.

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Centre Wright, 26, joined the club in 2017 from Yorkshire Carnegie, and has registered 40 appearances.

He said: “I’ve been lucky enough to call Bath my home for the last seven years. I’ve had some amazing memories and made some lifelong friends. I’ll remain a Bath fan for life.”

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Flankly 11 hours ago
Resilient Irish will test Springboks despite provincial setbacks

The Bok kryptonite is complacency. How did they lose to Japan in 2015, or to Italy in 2016? There are plenty of less dramatic examples. They often boil down to the Boks dialing back their focus and intensity, presuming they can win with less than 100% commitment. This can be true of most teams, but there is a reason that the Boks are prone to it. It boils down to the Bok game plan being predicated on intensity. The game plan works because of the relentless and suffocating pressure that they apply. They don’t allow the opponent to control the game, and they pounce on any mistake. It works fantastically, but it is extremely demanding on the Bok players to pull it off. And the problem is that it stops working if you execute at anything less than full throttle. Complacency kills the Boks because it can lead to them playing at 97% and getting embarrassed. So the Bulls/Leinster result is dangerous. It’s exactly what is needed to introduce that hint of over-confidence. Rassie needs to remind the team of the RWC pool game, and of the fact that Ireland have won 8 of the 12 games between the teams in the last 20 years. And of course the Leinster result also means that Ireland have a point to prove. Comments like “a club team beating a test team” will be pasted on the changing room walls. They will be out to prove that the result of the RWC game truly reflects the pecking order between the teams. The Boks can win these games, but, as always, they need to avoid the kryptonite.

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