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Bath Rugby announce coaching shake up for 2021/22

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Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Bath Rugby can today confirm that Girvan Dempsey will leave at the end of the 2020/21 season when his contract finishes. 

Dempsey has been a big part of the club both on and off the field playing an integral role in developing young players on the cusp of the international game since his arrival in 2018.

He joined Bath Rugby after having been a key part of the success at Leinster, including in Europe winning the Champions Cup.

Among some of his success stories in the south west, the former 82-capped Irish international is credited with the successful transitions of both Ruaridh McConnochie and Will Muir from Sevens to XVs.

McConnochie’s development under the supportive watch of Dempsey resulted in the winger being named in Eddie Jones’s 31-man squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, just one year after joining the Blue, Black and White.

Tom de Glanville and newly internationally capped Cameron Redpath are two further players to benefit from Girvan’s experience, the young backs have gone from strength to strength under his guidance.


Speaking of Girvan, Director of Rugby, Stuart Hooper said: “He is an outstanding person inside and out. I want to thank him for everything he has given to the club in his three seasons with us.

“He, like all of us, is judged on the 80 but it is his attention to detail in the 10,000 minutes that is a true reflection of his character. Girvan will be missed by everyone and we all wish him the success he deserves in his next venture.”


Girvan shared his heartfelt thanks to the players and staff at the club and the loyal blue, black and white supporters: “Bath is a very special place and I’ve really enjoyed my time at Bath Rugby. I’d like to thank Stuart, all the players and staff for the warm welcome they afforded me and my family. I also want to thank our brilliant supporters, who we have sadly missed down at the Rec.

“I leave having forged many great friendships and with a lot of happy memories. I’m really looking forward to a new chapter and I wish everyone at Bath Rugby every success for the future.”


The news of Girvan’s departure paves the way for David Williams, who will re-join the Blue, Black and White as Attack and Backs Coach following the conclusion of the 2020/21 campaign.

Williams, who was formerly Academy Coach at Bath Rugby from 2012-2014, has returned to England following a successful eight-year period of coaching attack within Super Rugby, Pro 14 and Top League.

An innovative attack coach, Williams has a deep knowledge of the game and a real excitement for playing with intent and using possession to pressurise teams. He joins Bath Rugby, after two-and-a-half-years as Attack Coach with one of the most exciting attacking teams in Super Rugby – The Sharks. Before that he held the Attack Coach position for fourteen months with the Free State Cheetahs taking the side to the Pro 14 play-offs during his tenure.

Further to that he developed his coaching capability with the Southern Kings during the 2017 Super Rugby season, which saw the side cause several upsets, and the Kobelco Steelers in Japan’s Top League where he learned from ex-All Black coach Wayne Smith and current Australia Head Coach Dave Rennie.


Hooper continued: “We want to accelerate the growth of our attacking game. We need to make a shift in terms of being clinical in attack, developing our play with ball in hand, playing into space and really challenging the opposition. It is an exciting shift and one that David will add to. I am incredibly pleased to be able to welcome David who we believe will contribute enormously to our environment and to the evolution of our game.

“David is well regarded in his field for his coaching ability and his work with The Sharks attack is clear to see.

“David has a fascination with the detail of a game and a training week, this, alongside his tactical nous and his ability to engage players really set him apart during the interview process.

“David also has strong and trusting relationships with myself, Neal Hatley and many of our senior players following the two years we spent working together, on the back of these relationships we can challenge each other to deliver high quality training weeks that allow our players to achieve their ambitions together and allow our supporters to love watching us play.”


Commenting on his appointment, Williams said: “Having strong family links to the south west of England and having previously been part of Bath Rugby, it feels incredibly special to return to the club, especially after an exciting eight-year rugby journey. I have worked with so many incredible people who have all helped to shape me as both a person and rugby coach.

“The club’s vision, of signing world class talent aligned with its strong commitment to developing players and coaches from within the region makes this opportunity an exciting prospect indeed and it’s a vision I hope to play a role in continuing to grow.

“From my time in 2012-14 to now, a number of players who were then playing on the fields of Dorset and Wilts and Somerset, have now progressed to the Blue Black and White to become the core of the senior squad, this is massive credit to the playing pathways in the region and having followed a number of these player progressions from afar, am excited to reacquaint myself with this group alongside meeting up with the squad and staff at Farleigh House and the Rec.”


Source – Bath Rugby

Premiership

Newcastle Falcons sign former Ulster forward

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Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Former Ulster back-five forward Matthew Dalton has joined Newcastle Falcons on a two-year deal.

Standing at 6 foot 6 and weighing 115kg, the ex-Ireland Under-20s international is already on Tyneside, aiming to hit the ground running for the start of pre-season.

“I wasn’t supposed to start until July 1 but I had a bit of a chat with the coaches, and we thought it would be best if I came over early,” said Dalton, the 22-year-old who has played ten times for Ulster.

“I arrived a few weeks back and have been working hard with the strength and conditioning coaches. It’s a chance to meet everyone, see the lay of the land and put in some graft ahead of the start of pre-season. It’s been great so far, and I’ve made some big gains.”

A former international pentathlete for Ireland Schools, with high jump and hurdles as his stronger events, Dalton believes the Falcons’ high-tempo game will suit his own personal attributes as he strives to make his Gallagher Premiership breakthrough.

“I like to bring some speed to the game with the way that I play,” said the former Malone RFC man who has played mainly in the second row, with a handful of appearances on the blind-side flank.

“Looking at the pitch here and the way the Falcons go about their game, I think that could be a good fit.

“Coming into a Premiership team from the Pro 14 – there are definitely a lot of differences, but also a few similarities. Newcastle have got a very fit and dynamic pack, and with the style of rugby I play I think it will marry well.

“I’ve had a bit of time off to do some growing up and self-reflecting, and this is definitely a good move for me. I couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity presented to me over these next two years, and I’m just incredibly glad how it’s worked out.”

Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards said: “Matty is a real talent who is blessed with great athleticism.

“He has shown his work ethic by coming over early and laying the foundations for pre-season, and I’m excited about what he can bring to our squad during his time here with us.”

** EXCLUSIVE DAVID LLOYD OFFER FOR ULSTER RUGBY FANS **

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Premiership

London Irish centurion to retire

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(Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

London Irish full-back Tom Homer is retiring from the sport with immediate effect following the conclusion of the 2020/21 season.

Homer, who made 126 appearances and scored 785 points for the Exiles across two stints with the Club, has decided that it’s the right time for him to hang up his boots.

Tom had agreed a move to French side US Montalbanaise but has since decided his future is away from the rugby field.

“I suppose my love for life is now beyond the rugby field,” explained Homer.

“I’ve played rugby for 13 years now and have some brilliant memories, but it just feels like the right time to retire.

“There is something poetic about finishing at the Club where it all started. I’m looking forward to the next adventure.”

Looking back at his career, Homer chose not to reflect a particular match, try or conversion, but more so on those fellow players he has shared the pitch with.

“My first year at London Irish and getting to play in the Premiership Final was a massive highlight, but more than anything, I will remember the people that I got to share those types of experiences with,” he said.

“Thank you to all the people that have supported me during my career, you stuck with me through thick and thin. I really appreciate it.”

Declan Kidney, when commenting on Tom’s decision said: “We wish nothing but the best to Tom and his family in the future.

“He has had a fantastic career and should be very proud of everything that he has achieved. I know he will be successful in whatever path he chooses to do next, and I would like to thank him for his generosity, work ethic and friendship during his time at London Irish.”

Thank you for everything Tom. Good luck in your future – you will always be welcome at Hazelwood.

Source – London Irish Rugby

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Wasps team to face Leicester Tigers as fans return to Ricoh Arena on Saturday

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Lee Blackett has named his Wasps side to host Leicester Tigers, in front of fans at Ricoh Arena, in the final round of the Gallagher Premiership on Saturday.

There are five changes to the starting line-up that won against London Irish last time out.

Malakai Fekitoa returns from injury to partner Michael Le Bourgeois in the centres.  

Josh Bassett will make his 150th Wasps appearance on Saturday, as he forms the back three with Marcus Watson and Rob Miller, who comes in for the injured Charlie Atkinson at full-back.

Jacob Umaga will also make his 50th Wasps appearance on Saturday, as he once again forms the half-back partnership with Dan Robson.  

The front row trio of Simon McIntyre, Tommy Taylor and Kieran Brookes line up for their final appearances in Wasps colours.

Will Rowlands also makes his final outing in Black and Gold in the second row with James Gaskell.

The only other change to the pack sees Sione Vailanu come in for the injured Thomas Young. Vailanu starts at number eight in his final Wasps game, meaning man-of-the-match from last week Tom Willis moves to blindside flanker and captain Brad Shields shifts to seven.

Amongst the replacements there is a welcome return to action for Alfie Barbeary. He is joined on the bench by Gabriel Oghre, Ben Harris, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Tim Cardall, Jimmy Gopperth, Juan de Jongh and Ben Vellacott, with de Jongh and Vellacott in line to play their last games for the Club.

Wasps team to face Leicester Tigers at Ricoh Arena on Saturday in Gallagher Premiership Round 22 (kick-off 3:00pm)

Wasps (First-team appearances)

15 Rob Miller (125)

14 Marcus Watson (51)

13 Malakai Fekitoa (36)

12 Michael Le Bourgeois (58)

11 Josh Bassett (149)

10 Jacob Umaga (49)

9 Dan Robson (136)

1 Simon McIntyre (183)

2 Tommy Taylor (90)

3 Kieran Brookes (58)

4 Will Rowlands (112)

5 James Gaskell (140)

6 Tom Willis (40)

7 Brad Shields (52) (c)

8 Sione Vailanu (31)

Replacements

16 Gabriel Oghre (45)

17 Ben Harris (79)

18 Jeff Toomaga-Allen (44)

19 Tim Cardall (29)

20 Alfie Barbeary (14)

21 Ben Vellacott (19)

22 Jimmy Gopperth (127)

23 Juan de Jongh (66)

Unavailable due to injury: Charlie Atkinson (Concussion), Lasha Jaiani (Pectoral), Zach Kibirige (Ankle), Joe Launchbury (ACL), Ryan Mills (Foot), Matteo Minozzi (Eye), Paolo Odogwu (ACL), Will Simonds (Groin), Sam Spink (Groin), Theo Vukasinovic (Achilles), Tom West (LCL/Hamstring), Jack Willis (PCL/MCL), Thomas Young (Hamstring).

Source – Wasps Rugby

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