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Bath announce three signings and name their new attack coach

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Bob Bradford/CameraSport via Getty Images)

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The huge overhaul at Bath ahead of the summer arrival of Johann van Graan as the Gallagher Premiership club’s new head coach from Munster took another step forward on Tuesday with the appointment of Joe Maddock as their new attack coach for the 2022/23 season. There was also the confirmation of new signings in Worcester hooker Niall Annett, Munster full-back Matt Gallagher – the son of ex-All Blacks full-back John – and Jersey back-rower Wesley White – the son of ex-Springboks boss Jake. 

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New Zealander Maddock played for Bath between 2004 and 2010, making 130 appearances on the wing, and he has since earned his coaching stripes in the Canterbury/Crusaders environment before moving onto Toshiba Brave Lupus in Japan. 

“Bath has always been special to me and my family,” said Maddock. “I love the club and I love the city. I’m looking forward to working with such a talented group of players and contributing to an exciting new era.”

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Bath confirmed last month the departure with immediate effect of attack and backs coach David Williams by mutual consent just nine months after his much-heralded appointment as the replacement for Girvan Dempsey. 

CEO Tarquin McDonald said: “We are grateful to Toshiba for allowing Joe to return to Bath. Working under new head coach Johann van Graan, he will add an extra dimension to a gifted and experienced coaching unit.”

As for the trio of new Bath players, 30-year-old hooker Annett has already been in the Premiership for some time at Worcester following his arrival there from Ulster. However, the family background of the other two Bath recruits will attract the most interest. John Gallagher was a Londoner who found fame and fortune in New Zealand in the mid-1980s, going on to win the 1987 World Cup with the All Blacks, and now his 25-year-old son Matt is joining from Munster after making his initial breakthrough in the pro ranks at Saracens. 

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Meanwhile, the 26-year-old forward White, who has been making his way at Championship level with Jersey in recent times, is the son of Jake, who guided the Springboks to their 2007 World Cup triumph and is now boss at the URC Bulls.

McDonald added: “Our recruitment process continues, with further signings to follow. We have been seeking players with talent and character, people who will share our resolve to drive the club back to the top of the league. We will be delighted to welcome Niall, Matt and Wesley to the club later this year.” 

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