A year after Nick Auterac agreed to make the move from Bath to Harlequins, it seems as though one of his fellow loosehead props will be heading in the opposite direction.
Bath have found their depth at loosehead sorely tested following Auterac’s departure, with Beno Obano currently rehabbing from multiple ligament and hamstring tendon damage suffered whilst on England duty and is likely to miss most, if not all of the 2018/19 Gallagher Premiership season.
Nathan Catt has been consistently effective for Todd Blackadder’s side this season, whilst Jacques van Rooyen has been brought in on a short-term basis to cover for the injured Obano, but the club have been quick to identify the player they want to bolster their ranks in 2019/20.
Lewis Boyce has found his opportunities at Quins slightly more limited by the international retirement of Joe Marler and seems to be keen to continue his rugby education at the Rec, with both parties very close to coming to an agreement.
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There is a growing Yorkshire Carnegie influence at Bath, with former player Stuart Hooper set to take the reins as director of rugby in either 2020 or 2021, and former Yorkshire academy manager Andy Rock, who currently fills the same role at Bath, set to be promoted to performance director.
Rock was the academy director at Yorkshire when Boyce came through the club’s U18s and should the loosehead’s move to Bath be confirmed, he will join the likes of Jack Walker, Max Wright and Max Green at the Rec, all of whom have recently emerged from Yorkshire’s academy. Joshua Bainbridge, another Yorkshire academy graduate, recently featured for Bath on a short-term loan, too.
A competition with Catt and Obano doesn’t seem any easier of a route to games than the one Boyce currently has with Marler and Auterac at Quins, but with the growing Yorkshire influence at Bath and the opportunity to play once again for Rock, it seems that has been enough to convince the prop to make the move down the M4.
Wasps look to be the ones left kicking themselves, as both Boyce and Jack Singleton seem set to move to Bath and Saracens respectively, despite significant interest from the Coventry-based side in both of the front rowers.
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