This interview is with Gosport and Fareham Rugby Football Club, Hampshire Rugby Football Union and Bristol Bears Rugby very own Joe Batley. Over the last year and a bit Joe has been a massive support to Rugby Against Cancer and we are extremely grateful for his support.
Rugby Against Cancer– Tell us about your Rugby Journey.
Joe Batley– Started my rugby Journey at Gosport and Fareham RFC, a fantastic club and still very much part of my life. From here I represented the county Hampshire before moving to Hartpury College, where I enjoyed 2 years with the U18s winning 2 AASE titles the latter as Captain. I then managed to sign professionally with Gloucester for 3 years being dual registered back with Hartpury as well as a period with Rotherham. I also was lucky enough to represent England U18s and 20s during this time. Before moving to Bristol where I am now enjoying my third season with the Bears.
RAC– What’s been the highlight of your playing career?
JB– Winning the championship with Bristol was special, as was winning the U20s 6 nations. However personally it would be my Premiership debut for Bristol this season.
RAC– When were you diagnosed with Cancer and what form of cancer was it?
JB– I was diagnosed 14th of March 2018 with Hodgkins Lymphoma
RAC– How has the Rugby community supported you?
JB–The rugby community have been fantastic, with not only Bristol fans but all rugby fans, truly getting behind me and constantly wanting progress updates and the bombardment of messages wishing me well. Also past and present teammates driving to come visit me while I was in hospital having treatment, showing me I wasn’t in this alone.
RAC– Do you have any advice for anyone currently dealing with Cancer?
JB– Try and stay positive, the smallest wins go the furthest on the days you feel your worst.
RAC– How important are groups like Rugby Against Cancer in raising awareness and funds?
JB– Awareness is so important I’m so lucky I caught the cancer so early however some are not as lucky so if you understand what the red flags are the quicker you can get onto the road of recovery. As for the funding, Cancer is still a scary word as we are still searching for a cure so funding helps us find one helps us continue the fight.
RAC– In 3 words can you describe Rugby Against Cancer?
RAC– What are you most looking forward to from the new season?
JB– Everything really, it’s the job I’ve always wanted to do and I’m so grateful to live out my dream. With Bristol Bears we showed glimpses of what we can do last season. So this year it’s time to really grow and preform and it’s a challenge I can’t wait to be a part of.