Bath Rugby star and Zurich Premiership leading points scorer Olly Barkley has signed a new two year contract that will see him remain with the Zurich Premiership leaders, the club can confirm.
Olly, 22, has enjoyed a wonderful season thus far, cementing his status as an important part of the current side at Bath Rugby as well as hinting at the role he could play in the future of the club. Olly is the current top try scorer this season with nine to his name, whilst he has an overall points tally of 336 from just 23 appearances.
Olly has played a pivotal role in establishing Bath Rugby at the top of the Zurich Premiership table for the bulk of the season, showing great maturity in particular during the World Cup when some of the senior players were absent. His assured performances for his club led to an inclusion in the full England squad for the first time since earning a cap as a replacement on the 2001 tour to North America. Injuries gave him the opportunity against Wales, but Olly's ability shone through and his emergence on the international scene were one of the positives for England in the tournament.
"I am pleased to be signing a new deal," said Olly speaking exclusively to the Bath Rugby website "I am convinced that I have made the right decision and have importantly made that decision based upon rugby reasons. That is the reason that is most important to me and that is why I have decided to put pen to paper on a new deal here."
"The whole blend here at Bath Rugby is right. We have the right coaching staff and medical staff and I think that the team spirit here amongst the guys is second to none and I believe that it is evident for all to see in our ability to close out tight games. I have to say that happiness is the main thing in life and that is why I am staying here."
Olly is just one of many Bath Rugby stars who have put pen to paper in recent weeks. He joins club colleagues Steve Borthwick, Andy Beattie, Jonathan Humphreys, James Scaysbrook, Spencer Davey, James Hudson and Gareth Delve on the list, and these signings are a positive sign of the commitment of this current squad as they chase end of season honours in both the Zurich Premiership and the Parker Pen Challenge Cup
Bath Rugby's Chief Executive Andrew Brownsword believes that the players are signing up thanks to the club's ethos of putting the requirements and development of individual players first.
"I am very pleased to officially announce that Olly Barkley has committed his immediate future to the club. It is especially gratifying to know that Olly joins a number of other players who want to fulfil their career aspirations with Bath Rugby.
"We are committed to ensuring that players are able to satisfy such ambitions to the highest level with Bath Rugby and take great pride in seeing them represent their respective international sides. In order for them to do so it is imperative that we provide the perfect platform to project them forward with the best coaching, medical and conditioning support."
Director of Rugby Jack Rowell added, "Olly's tremendous progress this season has given everyone associated with the club a great deal of pleasure. He grasped the opportunity of being first choice number ten in the absence of the World Cup players with both hands and we were therefore not surprised to see Olly receive his England call. For a young player, Olly has shown a great deal of maturity and once again it was not surprising to see him impress at international level. At just 22 Olly has the rugby world at his feet. He is a playmaker and a formidable goal kicker and is therefore a key factor in a relaunched Bath Rugby."
Bath Rugby play Sale Sharks this Saturday 3rd April at the Recreation Ground, kick off 2.15pm, in the Zurich Premiership, whilst the first leg of their crunch semi final clash with As Montferrand in the Parker Pen competition is on Easter Saturday 10th April, kick off 1pm.
Olly Barkley Biog:
Position: Fly half/Inside Centre
Height: 5' 10''
Weight: 14st 3lb
Bath Rugby Apps: 74(4) - 797pts (15t, 103c,172p)
Bath Rugby Debut: 08/09/01 v Northampton Saints (a) L 7-26
International Caps: 5 - 27pts (3c,7p)
England Debut: 16/06/01 v USA (a) as replacement W 48-19