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Bath 15:15 Leicester

Bath plug forward gaps

Lorne Ward and Paulica Ion set to arrive at The Rec

By Ben Blackmore.   Last Updated: 31/07/07 1:33pm

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Ward: Joins Bath from Quins.

Ward: Joins Bath from Quins.

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Bath announced on Saturday the arrival of two tighthead props to bolster their front row resources for next season.

The signing of NEC Harlequins front row Lorne Ward was confirmed by the club, while Romanian Paulica Ion will join from Bucaresti on confirmation of a Work Permit and an Accession Worker Card.

Ward, who made 33 appearances for Quins since moving from London Welsh in 2005, will join Bath on a one-year deal.

The 30-year-old South African previously played for Watsonians, Maritzburg University College Rovers in South Africa and Natal A.

Ion, 24, has won 18 caps for Romania since his debut against Argentina in the 2003 World Cup and will join Bath on a two-year contract after this year's World Cup.

Quality

Head Coach Steve Meehan said: "It's good to be picking up a tighthead prop in Lorne Ward who has Premiership experience, who has been playing in quality competitions for the last six years or so and who has the confidence of our pack after he played against us for Quins in the European Challenge Cup at the Rec earlier this season.

"Paulica Ion may not be a household name at the moment. But he was the cornerstone of the Romanian pack that dominated the Scottish scrum in November, and we are looking forward to him providing our team with the same strength."

The club also said that 24-year-old Matt Stevens, who was sidelined for a lengthy spell following shoulder surgery, would remain at Bath for at least another year after agreeing terms with the club.

Meehan added: "We are very happy that he has come back from his injury and a long time away from the game in such a fantastic state: he has been in great form for the club.

"We look forward to him continuing in that vein in the European Challenge Cup Final, and hope that that sort of form will carry him into the World Cup squad for England."

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