Bath and England U20 back-rower Zach Mercer has signed a contract extension, which will see the academy player promoted to the senior squad and remain at the club until the end of the 2018/19 season.
Mercer has had a breakthrough year this year, making his debut in the 58-5 victory over Newcastle in September and established himself as first team regular ever since.
Leeds-born Zach is the son of New Zealand Rugby League international Gary Mercer, and was schooled in Scotland, winning caps for Scotland at U16 and U17 level.
He was then included in the England U18 squad two seasons ago and was part of the England U20 side that lifted the Junior World Championship on home soil in 2016.
The 19-year-old will have the opportunity to continue his development on to the international scene after being called up to the England U20 squad for the forthcoming U20 Six Nations, which gets underway tomorrow with England hosting France at Sandy Park.
Mercer said: “I didn’t hesitate to extend my contract with Bath, as this is where I see my future. There is a real emphasis on developing players and the coaches have real faith in you, which as a young player at the start of my career I really value.
“There’s a fantastic atmosphere around the club, it’s a very ambitious place, and I’m really looking forward to being part of that over the coming seasons.
“It’s been a breakthrough year for me and to be playing regularly in the first team is a great feeling. It’s going to be a huge second half of the season and I’m really looking forward to playing my part on and off the field.”
Director of Rugby, Todd Blackadder, added: “Zach is one of the brightest prospects in English rugby and a huge part of the future at the club. We are thrilled to have secured his services and he will undoubtedly be a huge asset over the next few years.
“He has shown maturity beyond his years in the way he has stepped up to the first team and he has taken full advantage of his opportunities. There is a real focus here to develop the guys to not only play for Bath, but also to establish them at international level, which is a real target for someone like Zach.”
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