"I’ll remain a Bath fan for life” - Bath Rugby confirm four departures for the end of the Season - Ruck

“I’ll remain a Bath fan for life” – Bath Rugby confirm four departures for the end of the Season

Bath Rugby have confirmed the departure of four players, who are all set to leave the Rec at the end of the 2023/24 Gallagher Premiership season. The club has announced that Johannes Jonker, Juan Schoeman, Keiran Verden, and Max Wright will be leaving at the end of this campaign.

Verden departs the Blue, Black and White, after eight years with the club, having risen through the Beechen Cliff pathway into the club’s Senior Academy and then the first team. The prop made his Premiership debut during the 2019/20 season against Worcester Warriors, and he has since gone on to make 16 appearances for the Somerset side.

Kieran Verden, of Bath Rugby during the Premiership Rugby Cup match between Cornish Pirates and Bath Rugby at Mennaye Field, Penzance on 8 September 2023. Photo: Izzy Ninnis/PPAUK

With 40 caps to his name over a seven-year period, Wright joined the club in October 2017 having graduated from the Yorkshire Carnegie setup, before going on to make his league debut against Northampton Saints. The centre made his first European start in the same campaign and played a key role in helping England Under-20s win the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2017.

The South African front row pairing of Schoeman and Jonker joined Bath in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Schoeman arrived from Durban-based outfit the Sharks having also played for the Blue Bulls. Schoeman made his first Premiership appearance for Bath against Worcester Warriors and he is currently at 62 appearances for the club.

Former Border Bulldogs, Lions, and Montpellier prop Jonker signed from Championship outfit Ealing Trailfinders and debuted on the opening day of the 2021/22 Premiership season. Schoeman’s maiden Bath run out was against Sale Sharks, the same game in which Schoeman scored his first Bath Rugby try. Jonker has gone on to represent the club 27 times in all competitions.

Johannes Jonker of Bath Rugby celebrates after winning during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Match between Bath Rugby and Newcastle Falcons at the Recreation Ground on 31 December 2022. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

Reflecting on his time at the club, Verden said: “I just want to say a massive thank you to the fans, staff, and all the players at Bath Rugby. I’ve absolutely loved my time at the club and having the opportunity to represent this city. To all the players I’ve played with, it’s been a pleasure and I’ll miss every one of you. Bath will always hold a special place in my heart. Plenty of work left to be done to finish where we want to and I’m proud to be a part of that.”

Wright looked back on his time playing centre for the club with fondness. He said: “I’ve been lucky enough to call Bath my home for the last seven years. I’ve had some amazing memories and made some lifelong friends. I’ll remain a Bath fan for life.”

Schoeman spoke of his affinity for those who have helped him on his journey at Bath. He said: “I’m eternally grateful to have been afforded the opportunity to wear the Blue, Black and White jersey and everyone and everything it resembles in the highs and lows with the support of family and friends, coaches who believed in me and helped me grow as a human being and as a rugby player. Also for the management and staff who helped me return to, and maintain form on, the rugby pitch, and for the unwavering support of the fans.”

Bath Rugby player Juan Schoeman during the Gallagher Premiership rugby game between Leicester Tigers and Bath Rugby at Mattioli Woods Welford Road on December 31st- PHOTO: Steve Bond/PPAUK

Jonker paid tribute to the club and those closest to him. He said: “As I say goodbye to Bath Rugby, I want to express my gratitude to everyone involved. Playing alongside such talented teammates and having the support of our amazing supporters has been a true honour. Thank you to all the coaches and staff that have helped me along the way. Special thanks to my wife, Kirsty, for her unwavering support and love throughout this journey. These experiences have made me a stronger and better person. Thank you for everything. Bath Rugby will always hold a special place in my heart. I wish the club well for the future.”

Head of Rugby Johann van Graan highlighted the contributions all four players have made during their time spent with the Blue, Black and White.

“All four of these gentlemen have very unique personalities and will be missed around the group. They were very good team men, and we wish them all the very best in the next steps of their journey.”

Bath have confirmed four huge signings for the 2024/25 Premiership season

Bath’s recent spending spree shows no sign of slowing down with the black, blue and whites having already confirmed four signings for next season.

#1. Guy Pepper

The 20-year-old joins the Blue, Black and White from Newcastle Falcons.

The 20-year-old, former England U20s back row has agreed to join Bath Rugby for the start of the 2024/25 season initially until the summer of 2027.

Hailing from Harrogate, Pepper is a product of the Newcastle Falcons Academy having made 22 appearances for the North East club.

In his first seven appearances for Falcons, the commanding 6ft 3in back rower scored three tries in his 2022/23 breakthrough season.

Bursting onto the international scene earlier this year after playing for England A in their victory over Portugal in February, Pepper was named in Steve Borthwick’s England training squad for their Guinness Six Nations finale against France.

Pepper comes from a strong rugby family, with his father Martin being an ex-Harlequins player, and brother Max representing Great Britain in Sevens code.

He is also completing a degree in Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Durham which he will complete remotely on a part-time basis during his time at Bath.

Head of Rugby, Johann van Graan, said: 

“Guy is one of the most talented and exciting back rowers in the English game. His hunger to improve and develop is evident and I believe he will be a big part of our team in the years to come.”