Bath disappointed with Barkley loss

After six years at Bath Rugby, Olly Barkley has decided to leave the club for pastures new. Admitting yesterday that the decision was an incredibly difficult one to come to, he emphasised the impact the club has had upon him.

“The club has played such a massive part in my life and everyone at Bath has been a great support to me as a player and as a person. I have the greatest respect for the players, coaches and support staff and I didn’t, by any means, make my decision lightly.”

With Bath remaining in the upper tiers of the Guinness Premiership and remaining confident that further success is around the corner, Olly confirmed that he would continue with 100% commitment to the club until the end of the season: “I am determined to make this my best season for Bath and to help bring home some silverware.”

With the inevitable question surrounding the timing of his decision to depart with Bath playing the most successful and exciting rugby the west country side has seen for a number of years, he was quick to explain: “Although I do believe Bath are going to go on to do great things, I feel that it is the right time for me to take on new challenges and explore other avenues in my career.”

Speaking yesterday, Head Coach Steve Meehan had no doubt that Olly would remain fully committed to the end of the season: “I am positive that Olly’s efforts and commitment will continue until he departs.

“However, I am surprised. When you consider how far the team has come in last 18 months, the style of rugby we are playing, how involved he has been in its evolution and the relationship he has developed with Butch.”

“We will however continue to strengthen the club and ensure that the club continues to play attractive, successful rugby.”

Echoing Meehan’s sentiments, Chief Executive Bob Calleja added: “Olly is a lovable rogue and a very talented player. His departure will leave a gap, but this provides a great opportunity for the player who replaces him.”

Simon Halliday, spoke earlier today of his disappointment of the departure of the centre saying: “We have to respect Olly’s reasons for his decision. He has given many years of loyal service to Bath for which we thank him and he has committed himself to try to help the club win a trophy this season. At an individual level, we wish him all the best for his future international career which is surely still ahead of him.

“Olly’s departure is a setback but will not deflect us from achieving our goal to regain our position as one of the leading clubs in European rugby. We have a number of new signings to announce, and will continue to strengthen the squad with the above goals in mind.”

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