LOOSE-HEAD prop Jamie Bhatti has left Edinburgh to like up with English Premiership side Bath Rugby with immediate effect.
The Scotland internationalist joined the capital club 18 months ago from Glasgow Warriors but has struggled to get game time ahead of Rory Sutherland and Pierre Schoeman, limiting him to 15 appearances and just four starts for Richard Cockerill‘s side.
“We think this is a move that works for both parties,” said Cockerill. “Jamie is an ambitious Scotland internationalist and is understandably keen for more game time than we’ve been able to offer here, with our props playing so well. We wish him all the best for the rest of the season at the Rec.”
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Bath’s Director of Rugby, Stuart Hooper, explained that Bhatti has been recruited as injury cover for Lewis Boyce (knee) until the end of the season.
“Jamie is a high calibre player with international experience,” he said. “He’s the right fit for our club and I am sure he will no doubt battle for a chance to wear the Blue, Black and White jersey.
“Jamie brings a raw edge with his game and will only add to our pack for the remainder of the season. I am confident he will fit in well with our front row and adapt to our way of playing the game very quickly.
“We have decided to bring in a player of Jamie’s quality to ensure our standards at the set-piece are kept high and I’m confident he will add his quality to the forward pack. He comes into the Farleigh environment at an important time and has been brought in as injury cover until the end of the season.”
Bhatti is unlikely to be the last senior player to leave the Edinburgh set-up during the remainder of this season as Cockerill looks cut his cloth to fit the financial constraints facing Scottish Rugby as a consequence of the Covid pandemic.
Duhan van der Merwe (who has already been linked with a move to Worcester), Darcy Graham, Blair Kinghorn, Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson and Viliame Mata are among the leading players who come out of contract in the summer.
Along the M8 at Glasgow Warriors, stand-off Adam Hastings has already announced his departure for Gloucester in the summer, while reports over the weekend indicated that Huw Jones could be London Irish-bound. Scott Cummings, Jamie Dobie and Sam Johnson are also coming out of contract.
Meanwhile, both Duncan Weir and Ben Healy (a Scottish qualified former Ireland Under-20s stand-off) are being tipped for a move to Scotstoun ahead of next season.
He should benefit from getting some decent game time in a competitive well-managed environment.