Posted 22nd Apr 2024

From University of Bath 3rd XV to Bath Rugby – student Austin Emens’ outstanding progression rewarded with Academy contract

Austin Emens’ outstanding progression through the University of Bath rugby pathway has been rewarded with a Senior Academy contract with Premiership giants Bath Rugby.

The speedy back has caught the eye of the Blue, Black and White coaches with his excellent performances for the University men’s 1st XV in the national BUCS Super Rugby league. He has also enjoyed a breakthrough at international level having made his GB Rugby 7s debut in December.

“I’m really happy and proud to sign for Bath Rugby,” said Emens, who is in the third year of a Business degree at the University and currently on placement with Team Bath’s Marketing and Communications Department. “I didn’t really expect this opportunity. I joined the University for the Academic side of things, it was the best course for me, but I obviously also knew that rugby was a big part of life here and I knew the links to Bath Rugby were there too.

“I joined the rugby programme in my first year and have made good progress. Ryan Davis [Rugby Performance Squad Backs Coach] has been really supportive. He encouraged me to believe in myself, helped get me into my preferred position as full-back and things have turned out well.

“The last couple of months have been a bit of a whirlwind – signing for Bath and playing for GB7s has all come at once – but it’s good fun and I’m really glad I have these opportunities. They are what I’ve wanted and worked for.”

Emens, who was playing 3rd XV rugby two years ago, is the second University of Bath student during the BUCS Super Rugby era to earn a contract with Bath Rugby following hooker Tom Doughty.

Aaron James, Head of Rugby at the University of Bath, said: “We are absolutely delighted for Austin, he has worked so hard for this opportunity and it is thoroughly deserved.

“Austin’s progress is a fantastic example of university rugby providing a pathway to the Premiership. He has come through the ranks with us – from 3rds to 2nds, then into the 1sts where his form and contribution has been rewarded with both international selection and a professional contract. It shows what can be achieved with hard work, commitment and application.

“We have a thriving partnership with Bath Rugby and we are always looking to help them find that next generation of talent. It’s great that they have seen Austin’s potential.”

Emens played school rugby to a high level with Brighton College but was not part of a club Academy and joined the University’s rugby programme when he started his undergraduate degree in September 2021.

He enjoyed his first taste of BUCS Super Rugby during the 2021-22 season but it wasn’t until the second half of the 2022-23 campaign that he became a regular, helping the University achieve a top-four finish and reach the cup semi-finals.

Emens is the latest current University of Bath student to have committed themselves to Bath Rugby for the 2024-25 season joining fellow Business student Max Ojomoh, Wales Six Nations international Archie Griffin and England U20 player Sam Harris.

Johann van Graan, Head of Rugby at Bath Rugby, said: “I am really happy to welcome Austin on our journey. I have seen some real talent in Austin’s play and I’m looking forward to seeing how he develops over the next number of years.”

Find out more about combining study and rugby at the University of Bath by visiting teambath.com/rugby.

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