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Perry backs Bath

29 April 2004

Bath Rugby are delighted to announce that the club has taken up the option of another year on Matt Perry's existing contract.

Matt, who underwent pioneering surgery earlier this year to cure a chronic groin problem has returned this year to play some of his best rugby and is a mainstay of the Bath Rugby squad. He is widely recognised as being on of the best defensive full backs in world rugby and is imperious under the high ball, whilst he also possesses great attacking skills.

Matt, whose father played for the club, came up through the mini and junior ranks to make his first team debut in 1997. Having played at centre, on the wing and at fly half, Matt soon made the full back position his own that season before breaking into the England ranks aged 18 as Clive Woodward's first selection when he took over as England Manager in 1997.

Matt went on to win a record 36 caps at full back between 1997 and 2001, but both his international and club careers were cut short following a series of serious back, hamstring and groin injuries.

Matt played on through the pain barrier until he underwent a pioneering operation in March to solve his groin problem and the early indications are that Matt is well on the way to recapturing the form that saw him recognised as one of the world's best a few years ago.

"I am extremely pleased that the club has taken up the option of the additional year on my contract," commented Matt to "I now feel that my injury problems are behind me now and I am enjoying being involved at what is such an exciting stage of the season. My match fitness is coming game by game and I am looking forward to playing my part in the last few games of the season as we challenge for the Zurich Premiership title.

These are exciting times at Bath Rugby and I am enjoying every moment. The set up is excellent and the team spirit is second to none. Collectively we are looking forward to a return to Heineken Cup competition next season, but recognise that there is a challenge still to be completed this season."

Commenting to, Director of Rugby Jack Rowell said that Matt's qualities both on and off the field of play are key element behind Bath Rugby's drive to the top of the Zurich Premiership this season.

"We are delighted for Matt that he has come through great adversity to be playing again after career threatening injuries. It has been a big relief to Matt and us all to see that the early signs are that his recent operation has put an end to his injury problems and we are sure that he will go from strength to strength from here on in.

"Matt has proven since he was seventeen that he is an outstanding player and a great clubman and his international career tells its own story. He is England's most capped full back and has played in a World Cup and a Lions test series. At 27 Matt is still ambitious and is motivated to restore his best form for Bath Rugby and knock on that England door once more."

Matt follows Danny Grewcock, Jonathan Humphreys, Steve Borthwick, Olly Barkley, Andy Beattie, Alex Crockett, Gareth Delve, James Scaysbrook, Spencer Davey, James Hudson, Rob Hawkins in signing up for more Bath time.

For further information please contact Dom Rumbles, Press Officer, on 01225 325200 or 07905 946532 or email