Bristol Bears' Joe Batley joins Leicester Tigers on loan

Leicester Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy
Leicester Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy

Leicester Tigers have secured the services of utility forward Joe Batley on loan from Premiership rivals Bristol Bears.

A graduate of Gloucester Academy, Batley made his professional rugby debut for the Cherry and Whites in 2014 and switched to Bristol ahead of the 2017/18 season in the Championship.

However, his appearances for the Ashton Gate outfit has been limited to two this season with both coming in the Premiership Cup.

The 23-year-old also had loan stint with Hartpury in The Championship and was also part of the England U20 squad that competed in the World Rugby U20 Championship in 2015. He will now provide cover to Hanro Liebenberg, who is sidelined with an ankle injury.

“I‘ve been on loan at Hartpury for the last few weeks and enjoying it, it’s a great place,” said Batley to the official website of the club.

“Then, Pat [Lam] rang me and said there’s an opportunity at Leicester and asked if I would I be interested.

“Obviously, immediately I was very keen … growing up, Leicester was the dominant force everywhere and the opportunity to come to such a great club was one I couldn’t turn down.”

With limited appearances for Bristol in the last two seasons, Batley feels the move to Welford Road will help him push for a place in the Premiership.

“Personally, I’ve loved my time at Hartpury and enjoyed playing in the Championship but, it’s not what I want to be doing,” he said.

“I want to get as far as I can in the game and playing in the Premiership more consistently is the way to go about that.

“I’ve got big aims I want to try and achieve, that can only come from playing at the highest level.”

Leicester Tigers had a tough start to the Premiership after managing a solitary win from five games as they are positioned 11th but have been impressive in the European Challenge Cup where they registered victories in all four matches.