Bath Rugby sign England centre Jonathan Joseph from London Irish
Gary Gold believes Jonathan Joseph will add an X-factor to an already promising Bath Rugby back-line.
The club today confirmed the arrival of the 21-year-old centre from London Irish for next season and head coach Gold is relishing the thought of what his backs could go to opposition defences next season.
Tom Heathcote continues to look a promising prospect at fly-half, Kyle Eastmond has produced a string of impressive displays since switching to centre, and the back three of Tom Biggs, Horacio Agulla and Nick Abendanon have pace and skill in abundance.
Add one of the brightest young centres in the country in Joseph into the mix and Bath have a back division as fearsome as anyone in the Aviva Premiership.
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“He’s definitely a player who I would say has an X-factor,” said Gold. “He’s exciting and a prodigious talent at a young age.
“If we can continue to build on being able to set a good platform and have a good, strong pack, and if you’ve got the likes of Tom Heathcote, Kyle Eastmond, Matt Banahan and now Jonathan Joseph in the back-line, with Biggsy, Bendy and Horacio, then that’s a very exciting prospect for us.”
Joseph said he was excited about the prospect of developing his burgeoning potential with Bath’s world-class coaching staff.
“I've loved my time with London Irish but feel it’s time to make a move and Bath is an extremely exciting prospect,” said Joseph.
“You can see what the coaches are looking to build there in terms of culture. They already have a really talented squad and I hope I can add something to that.
“Obviously I'm still developing as a player and I feel that Bath will give me a fantastic environment in which to do that.”
Having won his first four England caps last year - including three on the summer tour of South Africa - Joseph will not have been short of offers for his services.
And with Gold’s desire to build a Bath squad based around the country’s top young talent, the South African is delighted the centre has chosen to head to The Rec.
“He’s only a young guy but has already been capped in a very difficult environment with three Tests against the Springboks,” said Gold.
“That’s a very difficult baptism of fire for a young kid and I think he came through very well.
“With the salary cap it’s not easy and it doesn’t make sense to go out and try to buy older heads all the time.
“The key is to try to develop your own players and if not, then try to attract youngsters who are going to come in and make a significant difference.
“Jonathan fits into that. He is a very exciting prospect and we very privileged and thankful that he was very keen to join us.
“I’m sure his own club were very keen to hold on to him and apparently there were some other good offers out there, but we are just very happy that he’s chosen us.
“We are very confident that we are going to be able to serve him well and look after him, and it’s very important for us to be able to deliver on that promise to him.”