Worcester have promoted ex-Wales flanker Jonathan Thomas to the role of head coach at Sixways while Gallagher Premiership rivals Gloucester have struck a deal to permanently keep Kyle Moyle at Kingsholm after the arrived at the start of the season from Cornish Pirates.
A former Worcester captain, Thomas returned to Sixways as forwards coach during the summer following four years coaching Bristol Bears. As part of Warriors’ succession planning, Thomas will now become head coach and continue to work closely with director of rugby Alan Solomons.
Thomas will head a coaching team that includes his former Wales teammate Mark Jones, who will join Warriors on Thursday as senior assistant coach, backs and attack coach Matt Sherratt, scrum and assistant forwards coach Mark Irish and academy transition and skills coach Jonny Goodridge.
“With our coaching group having been in place for roughly six months and having overseen 15 matches in that time, and with Mark Jones having now joined us to complete the coaching team, the time is right for us to implement the next stage of the strategic plan which we have in place for the club,” explained Solomons. “Accordingly, Jonathan will now formally assume the position of head coach with responsibility for team performance and all that entails.”
Thomas added: “I’m very grateful for this opportunity and I’m extremely proud and excited to take on the role of Worcester head coach because this is a club that I care passionately about. This appointment isn’t about me, though. It’s about us as a group and as a club working together to make Warriors successful. I’m excited about the future of this club. By nature, I’m a glass-half-full person and I have always been really driven about being successful.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 5, 2021
“I really believe in this club and its potential. When I first spoke to the owners and they talked about their vision for the club, the exciting academy players coming through and the long-term plans that are in place for long-term sustainability I was really excited.
“We are realistic about where we are at and we know there is a lot of work to do. The challenges as a new coaching team coming in have been not having a pre-season with the players and not having a specialist defence coach until now. We have managed the situation in the best possible way but the arrival of Mark Jones will give us a huge boost.
“I have said to the players that what they will get from me is someone who is really passionate about what they do. But, alongside that, you have got to have a really clear vision and plan about the direction in which we need to go.
“I’m very excited about the coaching group we have. We have got good a balance of personalities which is important because it’s not just about coaching, it’s about having individuals who complement the different needs of the players and we have a pretty good balance there.
“We all have different strengths, but most importantly, as a coaching group, we all get along very well. The synergy of the group is essential and it’s important that the players see that. We do challenge but also support each other, that’s how we get better and we are all driven to win.”
Gloucester, meanwhile, have welcomed Moyle into the fold after the on-loan full-back featured in six of the seven matches so far his season. “Kyle has come in and grabbed the opportunity with both hands,” said Gloucester boss George Skivington.
“He’s been excellent in the Championship for a number of years and he has not looked out of place in the 15 jersey for Gloucester over the last few months. He is a player that is eager to make his mark and keep progressing, and his performances on the pitch and effort behind-the-scenes are a testament to his character.”
"I don’t think you can say the competition is normal in the sense that games are having to be called off and points allocated"
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 6, 2021
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now