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Dave Walder leaves Bristol immediately with former player taking over

By Josh Raisey
Bristol Bears' Director of Rugby Pat Lam and Bristol Bears' Attack Coach Dave Walder during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Exeter Chiefs and Bristol Bears at Sandy Park on November 5, 2023 in Exeter, England. (Photo by Bob Bradford - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Bristol Bears have announced the immediate departure of senior backs and attack skills coach Dave Walder.

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Walder arrived at Ashton Gate last summer after almost a decade with Newcastle Falcons, but has now left despite a strong end to Bristol’s Gallagher Premiership campaign.

The Bears released this short statement on Monday: “Dave Walder will leave Bristol Bears with immediate effect.

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“Bristol Bears thanks Dave for his contribution.”

The former England fly-half has been swiftly replaced by ex-player Sean Marsden.

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The Bristolian, who has more than 150 appearances for the club, was previously assistant backs and attack skills coach.

Marsden had originally joined the Bristol coaching staff in 2016 as an academy transition coach, but has landed a senior position under director of rugby Pat Lam.

“I’m really proud to be taking on the role of backs and attack skills coach,” Marsden said.

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“People who know me, know that this club and city mean everything to me and it’s a real honour to take on a senior role in the coaching team.

“Representing Bristol as both a player and coach has always been a real privilege and something I have never taken for granted. I know this is the right time for me to have this opportunity and I can’t wait to get stuck into the new season with such an exciting group of players and coaches.”

Lam added: “I’m really pleased to promote Beanie (Sean) to the role of backs and attack skills coach – it’s a great opportunity for him to take the next step in his coaching career and he is fully deserving of the role.

“We’ve seen the impact that Bristolian Mark Irish has had on our forwards last season when I gave him the opportunity to step up and Beanie has followed a similar pathway, coming through our academy coaching setup to have a real impact on the senior side.

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“Beanie is a proud Bristolian who has a fantastic relationship with the players and all the coaches. He has worked with me for the last seven seasons so totally understands our vision and is completely aligned to the Bears Way.

“He is really excited by the opportunity to step up and judging by the reaction and reception he received from the playing group when we announced it at our team meeting, he certainly knows we’re all excited for him.”

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