Jonathan Joseph agrees new Bath deal
West Country club's top try-scorer this season signs undisclosed contract and is also on verge of England recall
England centre Jonathan Joseph has signed a new deal to commit his future to high-flying Bath Rugby.
With the help of the great coaches here, I’ve added more elements to my skillset, so I definitely wanted to stay here.
The 23-year-old, who is the club’s leading try-scorer in the Aviva Premiership with six from 12 appearances, has enjoyed a superb start to the 2014/15 season in the West Country club’s potent backline.
Such is his form, Joseph has made the most metres (544) and clean breaks (14) of any centre in the Premiership, in addition to his try-scoring haul as Mike Ford’s side push for a return to the play-offs.
“I feel I’ve really developed as a player since I’ve been here at Bath,” Joseph said.
“With the help of the great coaches here, I’ve added more elements to my skillset, so I definitely wanted to stay here.”
Thanks for all the kind messages received today. Hugely excited about staying on @bathrugby and cannot wait for the challenges ahead.
— Jonathan Joseph (@Jonathanjoseph0) January 12, 2015
With the squads for the Six Nations and England Saxons clash against Ireland Wolfhounds set to be announced next week, Jospeh and his Bath colleagues are expected to feature heavily in both squad.
His sixth and last appearance for England came in Buenos Aires against Argentina in June 2013, but the former London Irish product was called up to the England squad by head coach Stuart Lancaster as injury cover for the QBE Internationals in November 2014.
JJ is an incredibly talented young player, who is on the brink of breaking into the England squad, and deservedly so.
Despite his form, Joseph has had to watch as backline colleagues Semesa Rokoduguni, George Ford, Anthony Watson and Kyle Eastmond lauded and parachuted into Lancaster’s England team during the autumn internationals.
The arrival of Sam Burgess from rugby league to Bath’s backline has also been another major talking point in recent months, as have the club’s announcements that they half-backs Rhys Priestland and Niko Matawalu will join in the summer from the Scarlets and Glasgow Warriors, respectively.
But Bath head coach Mike Ford believes Joseph has matured as a player since he last featured for the Red Rose and is on the verge of a recall.
“JJ is an incredibly talented young player, who is on the brink of breaking into the England squad, and deservedly so,” Ford said.
“He has been on fantastic form for us, providing a real threat in our backline and his defence is international class too.
“He’s matured as a player over the last year or so, and we’re delighted he’s staying with us.”