Bath Rugby have confirmed that England international Zach Mercer will leave the club at the end of the ongoing season.
A product of Bath Academy, Mercer played six times for the club this season and overall has featured in 63 Premiership games for the club.
The 23-year-old will make a switch to Top 14 club Montpellier when his current contract ends at the conclusion of the 2020/21 season.
“It has been a long-standing dream of mine to play in France - the game is physical and will suit my playing style. I feel like I am able to offer the TOP14 something different and that is what I am looking forward to.
"I’ve spent a huge part of my career with the Blue, Black and White and I will be forever grateful for the opportunities this has brought me.
“I found it impossible to say no to the offer of a long-term contract with Montpellier and I’m very grateful to have had respectful and honest conversations every step of the way with Hoops (Stuart Hooper). There is a brilliant group of players and staff at Bath and I know they will go on to achieve great things together.
“It is an honour to represent the City of Bath and I want to thank everyone, especially our supporters, for their unwavering backing over the years. I’m here for a while yet and I will continue to give my all in the jersey.”
Meanwhile, South African back row Jaco Coetzee has been signed by the club ahead of the 2021/22 season. He will head to the Recreation Ground after being part of provincial side Western Province and Super Rugby club Stormers since 2017.
“With Jaco’s arrival, we feel we have an unbelievably exciting addition to the squad who will be available to play for the Club for the full season," said Bath director of rugby Stuart Hooper.
"He’s an intimidating ball carrier and will cause huge problems for our opposition no matter where he is on the field. I’m looking forward to seeing him compete with our current group of strong back rowers to get on the field for us.”