As we approach January 1st, when Gallagher Premiership players can officially put pen to paper with a rival club from the same competition, more and more deals are getting closer to completion.
Two of the more prominent trends to recruitment and retention so far this season have been that Bath are looking for front row reinforcements and that Wasps are struggling to retain a number of key players in their squad. Earlier this season, RugbyPass reported that Lewis Boyce (RPI – 57) is inching closer to a move to the Rec, whilst Wasps are set to lose a number of their key players.
Jake Cooper-Woolley (82) looks set to sign a lucrative deal with Sale Sharks, whilst the Daily Mail have reported that Elliot Daly (82), Nathan Hughes (79) and Willie le Roux (74) will all be leaving the Coventry-based club.
It looks as though Bath are ready to swoop on the Wasps exodus, too, and RugbyPass understand that the club are lining up Will Stuart (71) to bolster their stock of tightheads, where they have been very reliant on Henry Thomas this season.
Stuart, 22, is a former England U20 international and was part of the victorious side that lifted the World Rugby U20 Championship on home soil in 2016. His opportunities were limited in the immediate aftermath, but he was awarded a senior contract for the 2018/19 season and was playing an increased role for Wasps earlier in the campaign, due to the absence of the injured Cooper-Woolley.
He has been making waves this season with his ability in the loose and he clearly has an admirer in Bath, who are keen to add him to their squad for the 2019/20 season.
Should Bath be able to get deals for both Boyce and Stuart over the line, not only will they have enviable depth in the front row, they will have acquired two players with their best years ahead of them, as well as two more English-qualified players to help them meet the RFU’s matchday quota.
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