Ex-Gosport & Fareham Mini/Youth player Joe Batley (pictured) is joining Premiership strugglers Bristol for next season writes Brian Seeney.

Batley (20) and an England Under 20 and Under 18 second row is leaving Gloucester after three years along with club mate Joe Latta, a New Zealand Unde3r 20s international who played in the Highlanders side that won the Super Rugby Championship is 2015.

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Photo © Martin Bennett/Gloucester Rugby.

Bristol Head Coach Mark Tainton said on the club's website bristolrugby.co.uk that "the arrival of these two players in the summer gives us fierce competition in the second row".

He continued: "We are building a squad of young, hungry players with quality in each position.

“They are dedicated young men with plenty of talent and drive to succeed – we are confident they will do well in the environment we are creating at Bristol Rugby.

“They are clearly ambitious players and excited about the project we are developing here – to be able attract young, talented individuals like these two shows the direction the Club is taking.”

The Gloucester duo will play for Pat Lam, Bristol's new Head Coach for next season, who is joining from Connacht.

Said Batley added: “I’m really excited about this move and a first senior contract, which is a big step for me in my career. I’ve been with Gloucester Academy for three years and learned a lot, but now I’m ready to push on and compete for a starting berth and Bristol is the ideal place to achieve that.

“I was really impressed when I spoke to Pat [Lam] about the environment he wants to create at Bristol and the opportunities that young players will get to impress. It’s a club that is going in the right direction and I feel very positive about coming.”

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Batley on the ball at Gloucester. Photo © Martin Bennett/Gloucester Rugby.

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