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Premiership Rugby

Bath snap up scrum-half Martens

A Gallagher Premiership Rugby ball

The 31-year-old has been playing for the Border Bulldogs in South Africa's Currie Cup qualification competition in recent weeks, but has been brought in by new Bath director of rugby John Connolly to strengthen their scrum-half ranks after the departures of Welshmen Gareth Cooper and Andy Williams in the off-season.

Martens will likely be behind new signing Martyn Wood in the pecking order after the England 'A' man joined from Zurich Premiership champions London Wasps at the end of last season, as well as competing with young Scot Ross Blake.

Martens toured with the Springboks to Argentina in 1993, featuring in their midweek team, and has also appeared for the Sharks in the Super 12, as well as for the Free State Cheetahs and the Natal Sharks in the Currie Cup.

He was one of a host of South Africans at London Irish under the tutelage of Brendan Venter, and helped the club to lift the 2001 Powergen Cup by beating Northampton Saints in the Final at Twickenham.

Martens said of his new move: "I am really happy to be here and to be a part of a club with such pedigree as Bath Rugby.

"The opportunity came up and it was something I couldn't turn down. I've been training with the guys for a couple of days now and there is a positive feel about the new season.

"The competition for the No.9 jersey will be intense but I'm looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead."

Meanwhile, speculation persists that another South African could be joining Martens in the Bath colours next season, with veteran Springbok Robbie Fleck being continually linked with a move to the Recreation Ground, having been left out of the South Africa squad by coach Rudolf Straeuli.

By Mark Smith

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