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Bath agree deal to sign centre Robbie Fruean

Centre Robbie Fruean has completed a deal to join Bath, reuniting with his former Canterbury Crusaders coaches Todd Blackadder and Tabai Matson.

The 28-year-old will move to the Aviva Premiership after his Mitre 10 Cup commitments with Hawke's Bay, with the competition culminating in late October.

The 2007 IRB world under-19 player of the year excelled in New Zealand's junior ranks, but was then blighted by both illness and injury.

Fruean rebuilt his career making more than 60 appearances for the Crusaders under Blackadder and Matson's tutelage, and now the trio will link back up again at the Recreation Ground.

"We are really excited that Robbie has agreed to join us here at Bath," said Bath rugby director Blackadder.

"Tabai (Matson, Bath head coach) and I know him very well from his time at the Crusaders, and he is the kind of player we know will fit right in with the squad we have here, both on and off the field."

The Mitre 10 Cup final will be held on October 28, suggesting the latest Fruean could arrive at Bath would be early November.

The versatile three-quarter's impending arrival will no doubt boost Bath's resources during the autumn internationals.

England centre Jonathan Joseph was a late withdrawal from Bath's 34-14 Premiership defeat at Leicester Tigers on Sunday, suffering from thigh trouble.

"Whilst my focus for the time being is still on the Mitre 10 Cup with Hawke's Bay, I'm really looking forward to getting over to Bath and getting started," said Fruean.

"It will be a new challenge for me, the Aviva Premiership is such a tough league, but Bath have had a good start, and I know that being over there and competing in it will bring out the best in me."

Bath have also recruited Dragons prop Shaun Knight on loan until the end of the season.

The 26-year-old former Gloucester front-rower slots into the Bath ranks immediately, offsetting David Wilson's return to home club Newcastle Falcons.

England Under-20s graduate Knight made his name at home club Gloucester, following in his father's footsteps.

"Shaun is a very strong scrummager, and we're excited to see how he continues to develop now that he's with us," said Bath's first-team coach Toby Booth.

"We've got some very good props within the squad, and Shaun adds to that strength in depth and competition for places."


From Belfast Telegraph