As the Rugby World Cup looms closer and closer, the futures of England’s coaching staff are starting to become clearer.
Head coach Eddie Jones signed an extension until 2021 last year, with the RFU keen for him to help ensure a smooth transition to his successor, but the Australian could leave before that with a break clause inserted that, according to BBC Sport, could be activated if England fail to make the semi-finals of the RWC.
Attack coach Scott Wisemantel and defence coach John Mitchell are both out of contract after the RWC, with Mitchell already being linked to the France job in Midi Olympique, alongside Warren Gatland and Sir Clive Woodward. Only forwards coach Steve Borthwick currently has his long-term future tied to the RFU.
As for scrum coach Neal Hatley, whose deal runs out after the RWC like those of Wisemantel and Mitchell, RugbyPass understands that he is inching closer to a return to Gallagher Premiership club Bath.
Hatley spent four years as forwards coach at Bath before joining up with England, with the former London Irish prop one of the many players and coaches to make the move from Sunbury to Farleigh House over the last seven years. An academy coach at Irish previously, Hatley left for Bath with Toby Booth, the man whom he could be replacing in the south-west next season.
Bath have already confirmed that Booth will be leaving the club next season, as well as fellow senior coach Darren Edwards, with Girvan Dempsey continuing as attack coach and general manager Stuart Hooper in line to take over as a director of rugby from Todd Blackadder in 2020 or 2021.
If Hatley does take the role at Bath in November, he will find a front row that will have been boosted summer by the arrivals of Lewis Boyce, Will Stuart and Christian Judge. They are set to join a group of props at the club that already boasts Beno Obano, Nathan Catt and Henry Thomas, which would give Bath three legitimate options at both loosehead and tighthead.
With the club’s recruitment policy clearly prizing quality and quantity in the front row, it should come as no surprise that they are seeking to maximise any advantages they can find in that area with the addition of an international scrum coach.
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