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'He's the ideal fit': Bottom club Worcester bring in Jonny Bell to coach their defence

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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Worcester Warriors have appointed former Ireland centre Jonny Bell, the current Glasgow Warriors attack coach, as their new defence coach ahead of the 2021/22 Gallagher Premiership season where they will be looking to improve on their twelfth place effort this term.  

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Bell’s arrival will see Mark Jones, who joined as defence coach in January, become attack and backs coach as successor to Matt Sherratt, who will join Cardiff Blues at the end of this season.

The 47-year-old Bell, who spent five seasons as Gloucester’s defence coach, will link up again with Worcester director of rugby Alan Solomons, who was his coach at Ulster between 2001 and 2004. “We’re really pleased to have Jonny join our coaching staff,” said Solomons.

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“He is the ideal fit and I have no doubt that he will have good synergy with our other coaches and that they will all be well-aligned, which is so critical to success. I was privileged to coach Jonny in the years that I was with Ulster. 

“He was an outstanding inside centre with defence at the heart of his game. He was also a terrific team man, who was popular and highly respected by all. It was clear to me, even back then, that he would go on to be an outstanding defence coach and he most certainly has. 

“He did a tremendous job with Gloucester and the Premiership experience he gained will be invaluable to us. We have always remained in touch and, on a personal level, I’m delighted to be working with him again. With Jonny taking the defence, Mark will focus on attack, for which he has previous coaching experience. All in all, we will have an exceptionally strong group of coaches, which, with the squad we have assembled, bodes well for next season.”

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Bell won 36 Ireland caps between 1994 and 2003 and his stint playing for Ulster from 1993 to 2005 was only broken by a one-season pit-stop at Northampton in 1997/98. He moved into coaching at Ravenhill before joining Gloucester in 2015 and switching to Glasgow last summer.

“I’m excited by the opportunity to return to the Gallagher Premiership and work alongside Alan Solomons and Jonathan Thomas,” Bell said. “Solly is someone I have known and respected for over 20 years since he coached me at Ulster and I was impressed by his passion and vision for Worcester… my young family have struggled to settle in Glasgow and coming back down to the south-west of England is an opportunity to bring them back to a place they now regard as home.”

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'He's the ideal fit': Bottom club Worcester bring in Jonny Bell to coach their defence

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