Worcester have signed Bristol lock Joe Batley, the 23-year-old whose career was disrupted when diagnosed with stage two Hodgkin’s Lymphoma during the Bears’ Greene King IPA Championship-winning campaign in 2017/18.

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He was given the all-clear to resume playing after a course of debilitating chemotherapy and was on loan at Leicester Tigers before the 2019/20 Gallagher Premiership season was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

After becoming the Warriors’ third signing for 2020/21 following the recruitment of Wasps fly-half Billy Searle and Exeter Chiefs and England back row forward Matt Kvesic, along with Bristol coaches Jonathan Thomas and Mark Irish, Batley said: “I know Jonathan Thomas and Mark Irish really well. I have enjoyed working with them over the last three years at Bristol so the chance to continue working with them was something that really excited me.

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“I enjoy their coaching ethos and how they want the game to be played so it will be nice to keep that going as well as being in a new environment with a new bunch of boys. From the conversations I have had with Alan Solomons, he’s got a very good vision about what he wants the club to achieve and I want to be part of that.”

Having played his formative rugby for Gosport & Fareham – where his parents and brother are still actively involved – Batley was signed by Gloucester where he developed through the academy to the senior squad before joining Bristol.

Standing 6ft 6ins tall, he has been capped by England at Under-18s and Under-21s and his Sixways arrival was welcomed by Worcester boss Alan Solomons. “He is a big, athletic, young English lock, who has gained representative honours for England at age-grade level.

“He has worked with both Jonathan and Mark which will be of huge benefit as he seeks to make his mark at the club. He is also a first-class bloke and a good team man and I look forward to working with him.”

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