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Bath launch urgent hunt for defence coach with ex-England man in frame

(Photo by PA)

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Bath are to recruit a defence coach as a matter of urgency following a review into the club’s disastrous start to the Gallagher Premiership season.


Former Saracens chief executive Edward Griffiths was appointed on a short-term consultancy basis to hold the inquest into why Stuart Hooper’s side are positioned nine points adrift of Worcester at the foot of the table.

Head coach Neal Hatley currently oversees the defence but, having conceded 234 points and 30 tries in seven matches, he is to be relieved of that duty with former Harlequins boss Paul Gustard, now with Italian club Benetton, reported to be in the frame.

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“First and foremost, the reviews have given us a really solid view of what we are doing, and lots of what we are doing is working exceptionally well,” Hooper said.

“But the thing with sport is the 80 minutes is the bit that always gets judged. That’s fact.

“There are three key areas. The first one is a defence coach. We are actively looking and we are going to bring in a defence coach.

“That will be an immediate acquisition, someone who comes into the environment ASAP. There is an immediacy to it.


“Where we are with our defence is not good enough. It’s time now to change that and allow a different voice to come in and run the defence.

“We have a list of people who we are going to speak to and we will take our time to make the right decision, albeit to get it done as quickly as we can. It is a big role, and it’s something we want to get right.

“The other part was around our resource across physio and psychology, mainly. We have got a massive injury list and a huge amount of players who require the support and attention of physio and some psychological support. We increased that as of Tuesday.

“The third piece, which is really what we do day to day, is making sure we have got the best day set-up. A realignment from us as a group. It’s about being as efficient as we can be, day to day.”


On the club website, CEO Tarquin McDonald said: “On the field, we have been clear that our set-piece, discipline and defence has not been good enough. These key areas are the platform to our game, and we must improve if we are to deliver winning performances.

“I can confirm that we will add coaching resource in the area of defence and news on this appointment will be made as soon as we have confirmed a candidate. Our intention is to seek the right person, someone who can contribute and make an impact this season. They will start as soon as they are available. This will also facilitate an enhanced focus on our set-piece.”

Bath have finally received some good news on the injury front after Ben Spencer was cleared to face Exeter at the Recreation Ground on Friday evening.

Spencer, who won the last of his four England caps as a replacement in the 2019 World Cup final, has not played since injuring his hamstring on the opening weekend of the season.

He will link-up with Orlando Bailey at fly-half with Danny Cipriani confined to a bench role, while Sam Underhill, Will Stuart and Charlie Ewels return from England duty to face the Chiefs.


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