(Photo: Getty Images)
By Adam Ellis
Matt Banahan will switch Bath colours for the Cherry and White of Gloucester at the end of the season.
The 31-year-old rejected terms offered in a two-year extension tabled by Bath and has opted to move to Kingsholm rather than pursue interest from Bristol, according the TRP‘s Neil Fissler.
Of the teams currently in the top four in the Premiership, Gloucester have scored the fewest tries (37) but director of rugby David Humphreys said the addition of Banahan will play in to Johan Ackermann’s attacking style.
“We are thrilled that Matt has decided to join Gloucester Rugby at the end of the season,” Humphreys said.
“Matt has had a wonderful career at Bath and he will bring a huge amount of quality and experience to the young, exciting squad we are building in Gloucester.
“His versatility and ability to play in a number of positions across the backline adds real depth to our squad and Matt’s quality will complement the style of rugby Johan Ackermann has brought to the club this season.
“I know how tough a decision it was for Matt to leave Bath but we’re all looking forward to seeing him playing in Cherry and White next season.”
Jersey-born Banahan moved to The Rec from London Irish back in 2006 and celebrated reaching the milestone of 250 appearances for Bath in their Champions Cup encounter with Toulon last month.
Disappointed to lose an experienced member of the Bath squad, director of rugby Todd Blackadder wished the winger well as he continues to build a squad to compete for silverware.
“We’ll be really sad to see Matt leave at the end of the season, but we completely understand the decision he has made with his family and future in mind,” the New Zealander commented.
“I’d like to thank him for all his efforts over the years – he’s been a fantastic servant for Bath.”
Blackadder has made no secret of his desire to add to his squad despite it being thought that the club is close to the ceiling of the £7million salary cap, and in Bath’s statement this still seemed to be the former Crusaders coach’s keen intent.
“We’re working hard to ensure we get the right balance in the squad, taking into account the various complexities of building the squad we want long-term, and we will make further announcements on recruitment when appropriate.”