Bath Rugby Academy will bid a heartfelt farewell to five players this summer.
Oli Cattell, Sam and Si Elrick, Tom Jeanes and Xavier Hastings will depart the Blue, Black and White for pastures new.
The quintet have developed into extremely mature young men, all of which have bright futures ahead of them. Bath Rugby remains committed to helping them in the next stage of their life.
“We are proud of all five players and the journey they have been on,” Academy Manager Craig Lilley said.
“They have all put in a tremendous amount of effort to maximise their potential at Bath Rugby. The moments they have shared together, the memories and the relationships they have made on their journey will last a lifetime.
“We wish them every success for the future and are confident they will be successes in the avenues they decide to go down.”
THE CLUB REMAINS ON TRACK TO HAVE A 50% HOMEGROWN SENIOR SQUAD BY 2023, HOW DOES THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS WORK SURROUNDING THE DEPARTING ACADEMY PLAYERS?
“There are lots of different components to the tough decisions that are made,” Lilley said.
“We need to look at what is best for the club, and the players, for the long term. There are lots of players older and younger within the pathway and there needs to be a consideration of where we feel people can get to in the Bath Rugby environment.
“With that in mind, the composition of the senior squad also plays a part in our decision making. We have to make calls on certain players transitioning from the schoolboy game to the adult game. We almost have to predict how high their ceiling is within the club and consider which players are ahead of them in the senior squad currently and those below them in pathway.
”We commit to be as open and transparent with ourselves and the players as possible. We had honest conversations with Oli, Xavier, Sam, Tom and Si at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure they had the maximum amount of time to find their next step and move forwards.”
HOW BIG A RESPONSIBILITY IS IT OF BATH RUGBY TO ENSURE THOSE DEPARTING THE ACADEMY HAVE THE TOOLS TO PROGRESS ELSEWHERE?
Lilley continued: “It’s really important. All five players have had dual careers, studying degrees alongside their time developing their rugby in the Senior Academy.
"Some of them will now use their degrees during the next chapter of their lives which is a real show of maturity and proof of how important having a focus outside the sport is.
“The memories they have made and the people they have met during their time in the Academy will have had a huge impact on their lives. The skills they have learned overtime are transferrable to all walks of life and will be useful in their next chapter, whether that’s in rugby or a job outside of rugby.
“I will be calling them when they have left to make sure they are set up and seeing if there is anything we can do for them. It’s important we give them every opportunity to succeed in what they do next so the club will always be available to them if they need to get in contact with us.”
Bath Rugby Academy 2021 Leavers
Oli came through the Bath Rugby Player Pathway at Beechen Cliff School graduated into the Senior Academy. He studied a degree alongside his time in the Academy and spent time on loan at Ampthill in the Championship this season. Having sustained a few injuries in his short career to date, he is looking into the possibility of coaching and the club is currently exploring opportunities for him within the Bath Rugby pathway. Oli has always had a great thirst of knowledge for the game and is someone who will take the experiences he has had and give to the younger players coming through.
Sam has a brilliant opportunity abroad and has signed a contract with a team in Italy. He is an Italian qualified player and could have opportunities to progress within the Azzurri youth setup. He came through Bryanston School into the Academy after an excellent two years playing Under-18 rugby. Sam is a player who has enormous physical potential and has worked hard over the past few years at Bath to help maximise that. The club is confident Sam will thrive in a new environment and are excited to see where his journey takes him.
Like his brother, Si came through at Bryanston School. He is heading back to University and will do a placement year in Italy thus proving his commitment to excel with his education. After his placement he has another year at the University of Bath and will hopefully pull on their shirt on his return. He is very early in his development as a tighthead and with time on his side, the club is looking forward to seeing how he progresses into the role over the next few seasons.
Tom has decided to move out of rugby; he is going to pick up a job outside of the sport. He has had to contend with knee injuries during his time in the Senior Academy and has had the support of the club. Another to come through the Bath Rugby Player Pathway at Beechen Cliff School, Tom excelled as a schoolboy rugby player, representing England at Under-18 level, and the club hopes once he has experienced time away from the sport he will be galvanised and motivated to return to the game, picking up where he left off as an imposing, physical young player.
The club has been working with Xavier to determine where he goes next from a rugby point of view. He has earned a contract in the Championship for next season and will continue his degree at the University of Bath. Since he signed for the Senior Academy, Xavier has experienced a long period on the sidelines with injury but has done superbly well to come back and go on to represent England Under-20s. He is now in a place where he can push on with his rugby and be highly successful.