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In-Depth: Batley keen to make his mark at Bristol Rugby

Powerhouse lock Joe Batley is fully-focused on making his mark at Bristol Rugby, after switching from West Country rivals Gloucester during the summer.

The versatile forward, who can play in the second row and back row, has made three competitive appearances this season - against Richmond in the Greene King IPA Championship and both Cardiff Blues Premiership Select and Doncaster Knights in the British and Irish Cup.

But after an impressive start to the competition, the England U20 international now has his sights set on a regular spot in Pat Lam’s side – and knows exactly what is required to secure it.

“It was a great start to the competition for a lot of the younger lads, it was their first outing, so it was nice to get that win,” he said.

“The first week was against a side that we didn’t know too much about, with them being a ‘Select’ side, but we started really well with a try inside two minutes and then got a few more on the scoreboard in the first half."

Batley takes on the Cardiff Blues Prem Select defence (JMP UK).

“We were a bit disappointed with how we started the second half, but we finished well and it was a shame to concede that try right at the end.

“We know we’re nowhere near the finished article, which is fine, but these games are all about improving our skills and our game.”

The 21-year-old, who hails from Hampshire, says he is relishing the added responsibility given to him during the two-week British and Irish Cup block and is now focused on ‘putting a marker down’.

“It was good for me to be given a bit more ownership of the team during the British and Irish Cup,” he said.

“I’m calling the lineout, which is great for my progression and gives me a chance to show what I’ve got.

“It’s now my chance to step up and show what I can do as a leader and as a player. If I want to fight my way into the Championship team, I need to start stepping up now. Any opportunity to play is great and you’ve got to take it."

“Everyone has been very supportive and helped me settle in, so it’s been an easy transition for me and I’m so happy to be here."

Joe Batley

Batley made six first-team appearances for the Cherry and Whites last season, as well as gaining crucial Championship experience on loan at Rotherham Titans - and the 6ft 6in forward says he has settled in well after making the move from Kingsholm.

“Before I came here, I was pretty nervous, because coming from Gloucester, that was the only club I’ve known. But everyone has been very supportive and helped me settle in, so it’s been an easy transition for me and I’m so happy to be here.

“I feel like I’ve been here for a long time now, which is a strange because I didn’t expect to feel like I belonged here this early on.

“Also, moving from academy to a first team was a big step for me personally, but I feel like it’s a really good environment here and I’m relishing being a part of it.”