Bath Rugby are excited to announce that Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson have both agreed new, long-term extensions with the Club that will see the England pair stay until at least 2019.
The dynamic pair joined Bath in 2013, making their debuts in the 0-21 win over Newcastle Falcons in the opening game of the Aviva Premiership season, and have become mainstays in both the Bath and England backline in that time.
Centre Joseph is known for his scything runs and exploding breaks, but he is also a strong defender. A constant threat on the pitch, the 25-year-old’s quick thinking and ability to react can outwit the highest standard of opposition defence. He has scored 16 tries in his 58 appearances in the Blue, Black and White, with a further nine more scores coming on the international stage in his 25 caps for England, the most recent of which he won on the memorable tour of Australia this summer.
The top try-scorer in the 2015 RBS 6 Nations, Joseph was named the Players’ Player of the Year and England Player of the Year at the Rugby Players Association awards at the end of the 2014/15 season, and scooped the Best Back and Try of the Season awards at the Club’s annual end of season dinner.
“I’m happy to be staying at Bath,” said Joseph. “My game has really progressed during my three years here, and I definitely feel as though I’ve matured as a player, so I’m looking forward to progressing further over the coming years. There’s a positive vibe around the Club and within the squad for the upcoming season and we’ve just had a productive camp in Portugal. We’re all excited about the season ahead of us – we’re going to have a really strong coaching unit with Todd Blackadder and Tabai Matson joining Toby Booth and Darren Edwards, so as players we’re ready to get going.”
The athletic Watson burst into the Bath squad with his scorching speed and unpredictable attacking nature. A naturally gifted player, who is equally adept at wing and fullback, Watson’s exceptional footwork and nose for the try-line has led him to 12 tries in 67 appearances for Bath, with countless more assists to his name.
As secure in defence as he is illusive in attack, Watson quickly replicated his club form on the international stage. Having represented England through the age-groups, he made his full international debut in November 2014 against New Zealand. Utilised by the Red Rose on the wing, Watson has won 24 caps to date, and scored 12 tries – 11 of which have come in his last 16 outings.
“It was a very easy decision for me to extend my time at Bath,” commented Watson. “I’m really settled here, but know at the same time that it’s the perfect environment for me to keep developing and adding to my skills and my game. I’m looking forward to learning from Todd and Tabai when they arrive – they have so much experience of Southern Hemisphere rugby between them, and combining that with Toby and Darren’s Northern Hemisphere experience will give me a great opportunity to add to my game. As a squad, we can’t wait to get the season underway and build on the foundations we’ve laid over the last couple of seasons.”
Toby Booth, First Team Coach at Bath Rugby, added: “I’ve known both Jonathan and Anthony for a long time now, and I’m really pleased they’ve committed the really important years of their careers to the Club. They are both exceptionally talented players who since gaining greater international experience are having much more of a positive effect on the group – both on and off the pitch. They are still young and will improve further over time whilst playing at Bath which is a very exciting prospect.”