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Bath statement: The exit of Stuart Hooper

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

Former director of rugby Stuart Hooper is to leave Bath following a 15-year association with the club. It was last summer when the ex-skipper stepped back from his DoR role to allow Johann van Graan to take charge of first-team affairs, and his exit from The Rec has now been confirmed 12 months later.

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A statement read: “After 15 years of dedication to Bath Rugby, Stuart Hooper will depart the club this summer. Joining in 2008, Hooper was a stalwart in his eight years as a player, making 192 appearances before a back injury put an end to his playing career at 34.

“He had a profound impact on our playing squad due to his leadership and the way he conducted himself, spending five seasons as the club’s captain which makes him the second-longest serving Bath skipper of all time.

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“He made a huge contribution on the field and proudly led the side out at Twickenham in the 2014/15 Premiership final. A role model whose dedication to Bath remains unquestionable, he moved into the position of performance and player development Director following his retirement and his hunger to bring on and develop the region’s young players into becoming senior players was evident.

“Orlando Bailey, Max Ojomoh, Tom de Glanville, Ewan Richards and Ethan Staddon are among players handed deserved debuts by the 41-year-old during his time as director of rugby, after first spending time as part of Todd Blackadder’s backroom staff.

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“Hooper guided Bath to a top four finish in the Premiership in 2019/20 and after a couple more seasons as DoR, he assumed his current position of general manager where he has been a key driver in the club’s ambitions for women’s and girls rugby as well as player recruitment.

“His contribution to Bath Rugby over such a long period of time has been immeasurable. Everyone at the club would like to thank Stu for everything and would like to wish him and his family all the very best for the future.”

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Hooper said: “After 15 years, it is almost impossible to pick certain people or moments to mention. I will always be immensely proud to have stood beside and led many incredible women and men during my time at the club. Every player, member of staff and supporter has been a part of my journey, and I thank you all. I will miss you.

“Bath Rugby has taught me so much, and I leave this great club with a heart full of wonderful memories and a head full of experiences and determination for the future.”

Chief executive Tarquin McDonald added: “Stuart is deeply rooted to this club, deeply connected to our city and his contribution over 15 years has been immense; 192 appearances as a player, five seasons as captain, Stuart earned the respect of every head coach that he worked with.

“A passionate advocate for developing our staff and players, Stuart transformed our player pathway – establishing key partnerships with Beechen Cliff and the University of Bath – and gave debuts to many homegrown players.

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“He led us through the challenges of covid, including a top four finish in 2019/20. More recently he has focused on shaping the club’s future through his work on our senior squad recruitment, and through our women and girls project, building towards a professional Bath Rugby women’s team competing at The Rec.

“Stuart deserves huge respect for everything he has given the club. First and foremost, everything that he does puts squad and staff first, he is a genuine club man.”

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Shaylen 5 hours ago
Brumbies the best team in Australia but still nothing to show for it

The Brumbies have been the strongest side in Australia for a long time and that was down to their forwards and set piece which has always been good and has always been able to dominate their Australian counterparts. This year the lack of maul tries and also the lack of a stable scrum has been a real problem which was also something Nick alluded to in his article this week about the creaking brumbies tight five. Home advantage is key as you say and the Brumbies must find a way to score more bonus points. If the Brumbies are really serious about winning a title they need to do what Kiwi sides at the top do. They need to smash every Aus side with a bonus point at home while claiming losing bonus points in every game they lose and denying their rivals bonus points. In their 3 losses in NZ this year they were smashed. They only scored 60 tries which is middle of the road, their scrum came in at 73% which was one of the worst in the comp, tackle success at just 83% which was right at the bottom and in terms of metres, clean breaks, carries, offloads and rucks built they were in the middle plus they had the most yellows. They basically were just not dominant enough wile they can improve their discipline. They excelled at kicking and won plenty of lineout ball plus their rucks were secure at 97%. Not sure about turnovers but they weren’t bad there. They just need to be more clinical and give away less and they will give themselves the best chance to win the title.

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