19th Sep, 2020

Warriors boosted by arrival of Bears Batley

Rob George 22nd May, 2020

WARRIORS have recruited lock Joe Batley from Bristol Bears as their third new recruit for the 2020/21 season.

Batley, 23, joins Wasps fly-half Billy Searle and Exeter Chiefs and England back-row forward Matt Kvesic in the newcomers to Alan Solomons’ squad having signed a one-year contract.

Batley will follow a well-trodden path up the M5 from Ashton Gate as Solomons has already recruited forwards coach Jonathan Thomas and scrum and assistant forwards coach Mark Irish.

The impending arrival of Thomas, a former Warriors captain, and Irish at Sixways was a deciding factor in persuading Batley to sign for Warriors.

“Obviously 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,” Batley said.

“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 Solly, 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 and Fareham – where his parents and brother are still actively involved – Batley was signed by Gloucester where he developed through the Cherries academy to the senior squad.

He joined Bristol in 2017 but his career was disrupted when he was diagnosed with stage two Hodgkin’s Lymphoma during the Bears’ Championship-winning campaign the following year.

The 6ft 6in lock was given the all-clear to resume playing after a course of debilitating chemotherapy and was on loan at Leicester Tigers before the Gallagher Premiership season was interrupted by the lockdown.

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