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Bath confirm the two signings who will replace departing tightheads Thomas and Judge

By Sam Smith
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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Bath have moved quickly to reinforce their front row by signing Johannes Jonker and D’Arcy Rae after it emerged that ex-England tighthead Henry Thomas is to leave at the end of the season, with La Rochelle his speculated destination. With Thomas exiting at the age of 29 following seven seasons at The Rec, a decision that follows on from the announcement earlier this year that 28-year-old Christian Judge is joining Worcester, Stuart Hooper is now bringing in Jonker from Ealing Trailfinders and Rae from Glasgow Warriors. 


“D’Arcy and Johannes showed the right attributes on and off the field to add to our group of tightheads at the club,” explained Hooper, looking ahead to the 2021/22 season at Bath minus Thomas and Judge.

“They are both very driven to improve personally and to add to our game here at Bath. I’m excited to see them develop in this environment. I look forward to welcoming them both to the club in time for pre-season.”

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The Bath statement announcing the signings of Jonker and Rae read: “South Africa-born Jonker began his career with the Border Bulldogs, featuring in the Currie Cup before he was recruited by the Lions.

Aside from spending a short portion of the 2017/18 season at Montpellier, making nine appearances, the 26-year-old spent five years with the Johannesburg-based Super Rugby franchise, running out over 50 times for them in all competitions. 

“He brings the devastating combination of high tempo play, destructive ball carrying, and a solid ability to anchor the scrum to the west country. Together with D’Arcy (Rae) and Will (Stuart), he provides further international-level options at tighthead for Bath. Jonker joined Ealing Trailfinders at the beginning of 2021 ahead of agreeing terms with Bath. 


“North of the border, Rae has also amassed a great amount of experience in his eight years as a professional. A seasoned scrummager and dominant defender, Rae is renowned for his physicality in the set-piece and his exceptional ability to clear out at the ruck.

“Spending spells on loan at Treviso and London Scottish, the prop has featured 85 times for Glasgow Warriors and earned his international debut for Scotland in the 2019 Guinness Six Nations. Rae’s knowledge of the game extends to coaching, with the 26-year-old gaining experience as a non-playing member in Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend’s first squad in 2017.”

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Bath confirm the two signings who will replace departing tightheads Thomas and Judge