Bath raid rivals to sign four players
Bath Rugby have raided Premiership rivals for three players and signed another from local rivals Cornish Pirates – all four are English-qualified.
Lewis Boyce will join the Blue, Black and White following two seasons with Harlequins. The 22-year-old has quickly established himself as one of the most exciting loosehead props in the country and was rewarded with a place in Eddie Jones’ 35-man squad for England’s Six Nations campaign last year.
“I’m really looking forward to continuing my development with Bath Rugby. I’ve hugely enjoyed my time at Harlequins and am fully focused on the next five months as there is a lot of rugby still to be played this season with the club challenging strongly on a number of fronts.” Boyce said.
Christian Judge arrives in the West Country from Cornish Pirates and comes with Gallagher Premiership pedigree having spent the season on loan at reigning Gallagher Premiership champions Saracens. The 25-year-old tighthead has made 11 appearances to date for Mark McCall’s side, his most recent coming in the 10-28 victory over Lyon in the Heineken Champions Cup.
“I’ve had a great experience this season with Saracens – it’s not only helped to develop my all-round game but given me that world-class competition week in, week out. To have the opportunity to come to Bath next season is huge for my career, and one that I’m relishing.” Judge said.
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Watch: Eddie Jones on his 35-man England squad for the Six Nations
Will Stuart joins the club having come through the Wasps Academy, with the tighthead prop making his first team debut during the 2017/18 season. The front rower featured in England’s triumphant World Rugby U20 Championship in 2016, and has continued to show his promise for his club side making 24 appearances.
“There is a great deal of emphasis placed on developing young players at the Club, which was fundamental in my decision to move to Bath. I feel there is no better place for me to learn and I have no doubt that I can make big strides forward as a player.” Stuart commented.
Bath will also welcome Mike Williams from Leicester for the 2019/20 season. Comfortable across both the second row and back row, the 27-year-old has spent the last three and a half seasons with the Tigers appearing 70 times. At 6ft 5 and 18 stone, Williams will add a considerable physical presence to the squad.
Reflecting on his move Williams said “I’ve played against Bath on a number of occasions during my time with Worcester and Leicester, so to be able to pull on the shirt at the Rec for the first time will be a really special moment. The squad for 19/20 and beyond looks very strong and I’m excited to be part of that.”
Director of Rugby, Todd Blackadder said: “We’re delighted to bring in four quality players, who will bring significant strength to the pack going into next season. They’re all players who are aspiring to achieve, and that’s exactly the ambition we share as a Club.
“We are going to go into next season even stronger as a squad, and Lewis, Christian, Will and Mike will play a huge role for us moving forward. They have a real hunger to develop and have the traits we look for to enhance the competitive environment both on the training field and matchday.”
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