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Two young England prospects sign contract extensions at Bath

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Glyn Kirk/AFP via Getty Images)

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Recent England Six Nations squad call up Orlando Bailey and Max Ojomoh, the son of former Test level back-rower Steve who was named in the summer series squad last July, have given struggling Bath a boost after both agreed to two-year contract extensions. Eyebrows were raised when the 20-year-old out-half Bailey was last month included at the expense of George Ford in the 36-strong England squad that Eddie Jones originally named for the Six Nations. 

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That pecking order has since changed, with the called-up Ford making the Test bench for the opening two rounds of the Six Nations while Bailey was released on the Tuesday of the round one Scotland match week and didn’t return last week for the build-up to Italy.

Ojomoh, 21, also remains uncapped despite his England call-up, the midfielder named in the 37-man squad that assembled for the two-game series last July versus the USA and Canada at Twickenham. 

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A Bath statement on their website announcing the new deals with Bailey and Ojomoh read: “Bath are delighted to announce homegrown duo Orlando Bailey and Max Ojomoh have signed two-year extensions. The pair, who have both risen through the club’s pathway, have been rewarded for their fine form in 2021 and become the latest in a long line of local talent to graduate from senior academy to the senior squad.”

Director of Rugby Stuart Hooper added: “To have two young, talented pathway players commit their future to the club is extremely significant. Orlando and Max have both been given their opportunity over the past year and have taken it with both hands. 

Their work ethic has been incredible, their attitude has been exemplary, and they have pushed hard for selection every week. That is a credit not only to them but to the pathway coaches who have helped develop them to this stage of their career. They have both been involved in international camps and have proved their worth. We are thoroughly looking forward to them continuing their journey at Bath.”

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Academy manager Craig Lilley said: “The end goal for us as an academy is to ensure boys graduate to the senior squad and add value by not only the way they play but how they are as people and the influence they have on the younger players coming through the pathway.

“Orlando has always been a huge talent and is an exceptional performer. He is so diligent around the game and takes a great deal of care in his attempts to maximise his development, both on and off the field. 

“He has the ability to get the best out of those around him through the way he problem solves and communicates with his teammates. It has not been surprising to see him transition to the senior squad and bring his impressive skillset to the environment.

“Max has massive energy and enthusiasm for the game – he just loves rugby. He played for the University of Bath in the BUCS League during the season before covid, an opportunity that has massively helped his transition to the senior game. 

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“Like Orlando, we have always seen him as someone with huge potential. He possesses great passing skills and also an ability to consistently get over the gain line. To have that double threat is very exciting and we are now starting to see this on a regular basis.

“Orlando and Max have fully utilised the experiences presented during their exposure to senior rugby over the past year and are extremely deserving of their graduation to the senior squad. We are really excited to see how they progress in the years to come.”

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