Bath Rugby are delighted to announce their Academy squad for the 2011/12 season.
The Academy will comprise 17 fulltime members, some of whom made their Bath Rugby debut recently in the first round of the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s series at the Recreation Ground.Six new faces have been contracted for next season, with fresh talent across the field coming into the Academy. Local players Richard Lane (wing) and JJ Kilmartin (full-back) (both from Millfield School) and Joe Buckle (flanker) and Will Clemesha (scrum-half) (both Bryanston) join two from slightly further afield, with Will Tanner (hooker, Hartpury) and Tom Baldwin (flanker, Stowe) making the move to the South West.
The current Academy members who have been retained for this season are scrum-halves Chris Cook and Matt Keyte (dual registered with Bristol), fly-halves Paul Roberts and Tom Heathcote, centres Nick Scott and Ben Mosses, wing Ollie Woodburn (dual registered with Bristol), tight-head prop Kane Palma-Newport, lock Will Spencer, backrow Will Skuse and flanker James Stephenson.
Guy Mercer has graduated to the first team squad for next season, having entered the Academy at Bath in 2004 as an U15. He is to be congratulated on several years of hard work that has led to him securing a first team contract.
Ted Stagg, who has also been with the Academy since 2004, has signed a new contract with Championship side Rotherham Titans. We hope he has enjoyed his time at Bath and wish him all the best at his new club.
In addition to seven of the fulltime Academy squad combining training at the Club with studies at Bath University, the squad will be supplemented for training and United matches by a number of University Scholars.
Current Uni. Scholars include hooker Max Anderson, back rowers James Tyas and Joe Ellyatt, props Max Maidment and Max Ashcroft and locks Nick Morris and Jamie Collins. Depending on A-Level results they will be joined by wings Alex Brown and James Downing, fly-half Freddie Gabbitas and prop Tom Dunn, with one or two more yet to be finalised.
A very promising, talented crop of young players, the current Academy members have a host of representative honours between them, with Joe Buckle and Freddie Gabbitas in the England U18 squad, Will Skuse, Will Tanner, Will Spencer and Tom Heathcote in the England U19 squad and Paul Roberts with England Students. In addition to this both Chris Cook and James Tyas have just returned to the Club following successful summers with England U20s and Scotland U20s respectively.
With household names such as Matt Banahan, Olly Barkley and Nick Abendanon, and rising talents such as Ben Williams and Nathan Catt all having come through the Bath Rugby Academy, this current squad have some big boots to fill.
Academy Manager, Frank Butler, is looking forward to seeing what the new boys are made of. "They are a very exciting and promising group of young players, so we are looking forward to helping them develop their game further, and enabling them to vie for inclusion in the first team squad."