Worcester Warriors recruit Joe Batley from Bristol Bears
Worcester 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 with Warriors.
Batley will follow a well-trodden path up the M5 from Ashton Gate as Solomons has already recruited new forwards coach Jonathan Thomas and scrum and assistant forwards coach Mark Irish from Bristol.
Mike Hall, manager of the Three Pears Warriors Academy, was also recruited from a similar position with Bristol earlier this season.
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,” said Batley.
“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.
“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 & 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.
He joined Bristol in 2017 but his career was disrupted when he was diagnosed with stage two Hodgkin’s Lymphoma during the Bears’ Greene Ling IPA Championship-winning campaign the following year.
He 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 coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
Batley, 6ft 6ins tall, has been capped by England at Under-18s and Under-21s levels and his arrival has been welcomed by director of rugby Solomons.
“We are delighted to welcome Bats to Sixways,” said 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 JT and Iro, 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.”
Photo caption: Joe Batley.