20 September 2012, 1:46pm
Bath Rugby can confirm that Olly Barkley will leave the Club to join French club Racing Metro.
Barkley will be available for two more games at Bath, before joining the Paris club as a medical joker.
A stalwart of not only the club but the English game, Barkley amassed over 200 appearances for Bath, and won 23 England caps.
Speaking of the decision, Barkley said: "Bath Rugby is in my heart and it always will be. When I no longer play the game, this will be the Club I come to watch. I will be forever a Bath boy but this, for me, was simply the opportunity of a lifetime and one I just couldn't ignore. I will miss the Club always, and I wish all of my mates here the very best. I believe they are a special group with special coaches, and I hope they achieve everything they desire. I'd like to thank the Club for their understanding, and also the Bath supporters who have been amazing to me in my time here."
Head Coach, Gary Gold, added: "Barks is a great bloke and a top player. I could not have been more impressed with both his attitude and his incredibly professional approach since I arrived at the Club. As a senior player, he could not have worked harder or been more welcoming to us as a group of coaches, but every now and then an offer lands on the table that a bloke just can't refuse. We are sorry to see him go, but he goes with our blessing. He will always be welcome here".
Bath Rugby can also confirm they have signed hooker Brett Sharman on a short-term loan as injury cover for Rob Webber.