BATH RUGBY: Bath land signings of propping pair

Sale Sharks prop Henry Thomas will join Bath next season

Sale Sharks prop Henry Thomas will join Bath next season

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BATH have signed props Henry Thomas and Nick Auterac for next season.

The move for Thomas was widely expected, following the recent announcement that the 22-year-old would be leaving Sale Sharks at the end of the season.

Thomas was named in Stuart Lancaster's England squad for the RBS 6 Nations, having made his England debut in Argentina in 2013.

Thomas, who went to King Edwards School in Bath and Millfield, before moving to Manchester to study economics, has made more than 50 Aviva Premiership appearances for the Sharks.

He said: "I'm really excited to be moving to Bath next season. They’re a club clearly on the rise, with a lot of ambition. They also have a very strong pack, excellent coaches and a top squad, so I can’t wait to get started there.”

Loosehead prop Auterac, 21, is a former England U20 who joined the Saracens Academy in 2011.

He made his Aviva Premiership debut for Saracens against London Wasps in November 2012, and has gone on to be involved in over 15 first team matches.

Bath forwards coach Neal Hatley said: “Henry and Nick are exceptionally talented, and they have a lot of potential as young players to get even better.

“They are enthusiastic about learning and improving, which really fits the culture we’re building here at Bath. We’re very much looking forward to them joining the squad.”

Bath’s Anthony Watson will play for the England Saxons against Ireland Wolfhounds at Kingsholm on Saturday.

The uncapped 19-year-old is in contention to play for England in their opening RBS 6 Nations clash with France on Saturday week.

England head coach Stuart Lancaster said: “We want to give Anthony some senior international experience and more game time on the wing.

“The match against the Wolfhounds is a good opportunity for him.

“He’s been great in training this week and to test himself against a quality Irish team will be another step up for him.”

A knee injury will deprive Bath wing Semesa Rokoduguni of his Saxons debut this weekend, but Bath head coach Mike Ford believes the Fijian-born Army man has the talent to force his way into England’s 2015 World Cup plans.

Rokoduguni was called into the Saxons selection last week, but a knee knock rules him out of the Kingsholm clash, although he should be fit to face Scotland A next week.

Ford said: “Roko had a bit of a reaction in his knee, but he’s got to terms with professional rugby really quickly.

“He’s working really hard and he has got so much potential left in him as well.

“If he carries on with the same mindset and keeps learning and developing, there is no reason why he can’t make the World Cup squad in 2015.’’

Bath’s Jonathan Joseph also misses the Saxons game with injury, but prop Nathan Catt remains in the 23-man squad.

Tom Heatchote will play for Bath against Cardiff Blues in the LV= Cup this weekend before joining up for the Scotland A game against the Saxons next week.

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