Bath sign ex-Tiger Dan Bowden

Dan Bowden during his time with Leicester
©Press Association

Bath have moved to strengthen their back division options by signing former Leicester and London Irish player Dan Bowden.

The 29-year-old New Zealander will arrive from Super Rugby franchise Auckland Blues next month, Bath coach Toby Booth confirmed following a 21-14 Aviva Premiership victory over Recreation Ground visitors Worcester.

And Bowden's arrival is set to intensify speculation that Bath fly-half Rhys Priestland could be available for Wales after all this season.

It had been understood that Priestland would take an 18-month sabbatical from Test rugby, starting with the RBS 6 Nations Championship that gets under way in early February.

But the recruitment of Bowden - a fly-half or centre - suggests that Priestland could remain part of the Wales set-up, with Bath also set to be without England number 10 George Ford during the Six Nations campaign. 

"Dan is a very intelligent player," Booth said. "From a 10/12 point of view, you want as many ball-players as you can.

"He is an obsessive sort of player. What I mean by that is he has a massive thirst for knowledge and thirst for the game, and he will drive people's preparation to be at the same standard as his. I think he's arriving in early January.

"We have got a lot of young backs, so the more we can fast-track their knowledge, then hopefully we can move the progression of the group that little bit better." 

Asked about Priestland's situation, Booth added: "It is not the reason we have recruited Dan Bowden. We had an opportunity to specifically recruit him."

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