Joe Batley: Worcester Warriors sign Bristol Bears forward for 2020-21 season

Joe Batley
Joe Batley is on loan at Leicester until the end of the current season

Worcester Warriors have signed forward Joe Batley from Bristol Bears on a one-year contract.

The 23-year-old 6ft 6ins lock, who can also play in the back row, will be joining his fourth Premiership club.

Having started with Gloucester, before moving to Bristol in 2017, the ex-England Under-20 international has been with Leicester on loan this season.

Worcester had already signed Wasps fly-half Billy Searle and Exeter back-row forward Matt Kvesic for 2020-21.

Hampshire-born Batley has battled back from a cancer scare to maintain his career in rugby.

He had to endure six months of chemotherapy treatment after being diagnosed with stage two Hodgkin's Lymphoma during Bristol's Championship-winning campaign in 2017-18.

Batley will follow three of the Bristol backroom staff up the M5 ahead of next season, with forwards coach Jonathan Thomas, scrum and assistant forwards coach Mark Irish and academy manager Mike Hall having also been recruited from Bristol.

"I have enjoyed working with Jonathan Thomas and Mark Irish over the last three years at Bristol," said Batley. "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."

Warriors director of rugby Alan Solomons said: "He is a big, athletic, young English lock, who has worked with both JT and Iro which will be of huge benefit. He is also a first-class bloke."

Warriors were 10th in the Premiership, but safe from any relegation fears as a result of Saracens' demise, when the season was suspended in mid-March.

Meanwhile, Alex Hearle has become the latest Warriors academy player to be added to Solomons' playing squad after signing his first professional contract.

The 21-year-old, who can play both on the wing and at centre, is fit again after sustaining a foot injury in September which required surgery.

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