WORCESTER Warriors' head coach Jonathan Thomas cannot speak highly enough of utility forward Joe Batley, as the former Bristol-lock agrees to a further two-year contract extension at the club.

Batley, who has now signed on til the end of the 2022/23 campaign, has made ten appearances this season – seven as a starter – at blindside flanker, number eight and lock.

“I am delighted that Bats has re-signed. I worked closely with him before at Bristol so I know him pretty well,” said Warriors Head Coach Jonathan Thomas.

“He came here on a one-year deal and he had a couple of injuries early on but recently he has been playing every week and he has shown what a quality player he is, whether that be at six, eight or five.

“Bats is a big man, he’s athletic, he’s got good skills and he is very powerful. He also knows that there is a huge amount of growth left in him.

“We were determined to keep Bats because we didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity for him to continue the great work he is doing and to continue his development.

“We really feel that he can become one of the best players in his position. He’s still a young man and he hasn’t played a huge amount of consecutive games so the challenge for him is to keep improving.

“Off the field he’s a huge personality. The players love him. He’s great for team culture, he drives standards and he leads the lineout.

“So it’s the man off the field as well as the man on the field. This can be a serious business and Bats is an energiser, a ball of fun if you like, which is what you need.”

Batley admits it's been a frustrating past 12 months but is fully focussed on the future.

“The reason I came here to start with is because of Jonathan Thomas and Mark Irish, who I worked with at Bristol,” Batley said.

“I have got a really good relationship with them and I feel like they have grown my game massively. I have enjoyed getting to know the boys, being part of the team and I know that we have a big future.

“It was frustrating for me early on with the toe injury but now I am kicking on and really happy.”