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'We're excited': Bath hero Jon Callard is back working at The Rec

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

Jon Callard is back at Bath after agreeing to become kicking coach at the club now headed up by Johann van Graan for the 2022/23 season. The former England international is currently director of rugby at Leeds Tykes, the National One club.

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A statement read: “Bath Rugby is delighted to welcome back Jon Callard as kicking coach ahead of the 2022/23 season. A blue, black and white legend, the five-time England full-back spent a decade at The Rec between 1989 and 1999, playing over 200 senior matches.

“He also collected over 2,000 points during his time at the club and it was his tally of 19 which helped Bath become the first ever British team to win the European Cup in 1998. Callard was appointed Bath’s assistant coach to Andy Robinson in the summer of the same year before becoming head coach two years later.

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“The 56-year-old was first-team coach at Leeds Tykes from 2002 until 2005, winning the Powergen Cup, and he returned as head coach in 2021. He has also coached England U20s as well as having a kicking coach role with the senior England side which reached the 2007 World Cup final.”

Bath boss van Graan said: “Jon has over 20 years of coaching experience as well as a deep connection with Bath Rugby. We are excited for Jon to be working with our kickers to develop their skills in such a key part of the modern game.”

It was last December when Callard spoke to RugbyPass about his reasons why he got back involved with Leeds after the club fell on hard times and were relegated from the Championship. “It’s an eye-opener, to say the least, but the game of rugby still fulfils its enjoyment at whatever level,” he explained about why an ex-England assistant under Brian Ashton and Martin Johnson was giving back to a club located down the road from his Harrogate home.

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“There is that emotion as I have been there before with the club and also it is on the doorstep as a local club as well. It hasn’t gone too well. I have been very critical of it not going well and somebody said, ‘Well put up or shut up’. I decided to try and give a hand and see where we can go with it.

“I had three years of good memories at Leeds in the Premiership and to see it just slip away… if it weren’t for some very generous people it probably would have fallen as a club. There are some special clubs in Yorkshire but Leeds needs a rugby club.

“It has got a lot of young people who are playing the game in the local area and it just needs a rugby club, simple as that. That is why I was critical to see it nearly folded and luckily there were a few hard-working people who really saved the club and have given it a chance in National One.”

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