'Unrelenting effort and commitment': Bath farewell nine players who are leaving
Bath have farewelled the nine players – Ross Batty, Jamie Bhatti, Will Chudley, Christian Judge, Zach Mercer, Rhys Priestland, Elliott Stooke, Henry Thomas and Jack Walker – who are leaving them following the conclusion of their 2020/21 campaign.
A club statement read: “Each player has made an immense contribution to the club in their own unique way and everyone associated is extremely grateful for the energy and commitment they have given to the Bath jersey. They all have their own stories and memories to take forward with them from their journey at the Rec and the club wishes them well in their future endeavours.”
Director of rugby Stuart Hooper added: “I would like to thank each of our nine departing players for their unrelenting effort and commitment throughout their time at the club. They are all fantastic people who have been a pleasure to work with and I wish all of them the very best of luck for what lies ahead.”
After a 16-year career, over a decade of which was spent at Bath, Batty has retired due to a neck injury. He will remain a Bath resident as he embarks on a new chapter with Stonewood Builders this summer. “I never got the chance to play at a higher level so I made a firm belief to give everything for Bath when I played,” he said. “I’m happy and grateful to have had the opportunity.”
Arriving as injury cover in December 2020, Bhatti’s efforts to improve were rewarded and recognised by Scotland as he was recalled for the 2021 Six Nations, appearing twice in the tournament. The prop played ten times for and departs for Glasgow. “What a six months it has been,” he enthused. “Thank you to everyone that has been a part of it.”
Thank you to our 9? departing senior players ???
Each player has made an immense contribution to the club in their own unique way, and everyone associated with Bath Rugby is extremely grateful for the energy and commitment they have given to the ????? jersey.
— Bath Rugby (@BathRugby) June 23, 2021
A real character within the group, the prop also switches to Worcester after two years and 43 Bath appearances. Judge felt emotional in the week building up to his final game and more so after his final outing, admitting he made ‘friends for life’ at Bath. “I have loved playing with this group of players. They are genuinely special and I have made friends for life.”
After 55 appearances over three seasons, Chudley is leaves for Worcester Warriors. “I’ve been very privileged to play for this historic club and the friends I have made during my time in Bath will last for a lifetime,” he said.
Signing off as a Bath centurion, Mercer’s five years ended when he came on for his 100th appearance in the recent round 22 Gallagher Premiership match at the end of a campaign where the fans voted him their player of the season before his move to Montpellier. “I have spent a huge part of my career with Bath and I will be forever grateful for the opportunities this has brought me.”
The fly-half leaves for Cardiff after six years at The Rec where he earned the Premiership record for most consecutive successful kicks at goal during his 122 appearances. “I have loved my time at Bath. I’ve enjoyed turning up to Farleigh House every day, working with the players, coaches and all the staff. The people are so friendly. I have made so many friends and great memories.”
The second row earned 130 caps for the club in his five seasons and became a real favourite with the supporters. He insisted his move to Wasps was “one of the hardest decisions” he ever had to make. “The memories I have made on and off the field will live with me for the rest of my life and I have made lifelong friends during my time here.”
Playing for Bath was the prop’s childhood dream and he now leaves after seven season and more than 100 appearances. “I’m immensely proud to have played over 100 games for the club I supported as a kid.”
In five years at Bath since signing from Yorkshire Carnegie, the 25-year-old made 87 Bath appearances. “I have developed massively as a person and a player since arriving and I can’t thank the club enough.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) May 15, 2021
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