Hatley – who has masterminded the Bath pack’s emergence as one of the most powerful in Europe – engineered a coup at the end of January when the club announced the signing of Max Lahiff from Melbourne Rebels.
Lahiff, who chalked up more than 60 appearances at London Irish before heading to the Super 15 in 2013, is the fifth former Exile to have been attracted to Bath by ex-Irish coaching duo Hatley and Toby Booth.
Anthony Watson, Jonathan Joseph, Matt Garvey and David Sisi are all former protégées of Hatley’s who have moved to the West Country since he became forwards coach at the Rec in 2012. Lahiff, 25, can now be added to the list, and full-back Tom Homer is also expected to join the group in the summer.
During his spell down under, Lahiff was touted as a Wallaby of the future – he has an Australian father – and Bath moved quickly to secure his services once Wales veteran Paul James announced in October that he would be returning to Ospreys.
Bath won’t recruit another loosehead over the summer, but will instead stick with the contingent of Lahiff, 27-year-old Nathan Catt and Nick Auterac, 22.
“When we knew Paul was leaving, we didn’t want to bring in a seasoned international because we feel that Nick Auterac and Nathan Catt are close to being that quality at the moment,” Hatley told TRP.
“Both Nathan and Nick have been fantastic. They’ve got to that point where you don’t have to bring anyone in over the top of them.
“Max is a similar guy to add to the squad, but he can play both sides of the scrum too. He can bring that flexibility for us.
“I’ve got a long-standing relationship with Max from London Irish. It was a no-brainer for us when Paul said he would be leaving. I know Max as a player and more importantly as a person, and I know he’s an ideal fit.”
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