Wasps have confirmed that director of rugby Dai Young will be stepping down from his position after almost nine years at the helm.
The Premiership club announced that Young believes that he has taken them as far as he can and that a new face should take them into the future.
Since his arrival in 2011 Young has overseen a transformation at the club leading them from second-last in the table to three successive play-off place finishes between 2016 and 2018, including a Premiership final in 2017 which they narrowly lost.
That season saw him pick up the competition’s director of the season award and speaking upon his departure Young admitted that he has fond memories of his time at Wasps.
“I am extremely proud of my record during my time at Wasps and was extremely honoured to receive the Director of Rugby of the Season award in 2017. It was proper recognition of all we had achieved as a squad leading up to that season. I am very proud of the part I played in developing players who have gone on to play for their countries, like Club Captain Joe Launchbury. It will be tough to leave a club and group of people that has meant so much to me over the past decade, but I feel this is the right time for both the Club and for myself,” he said.
As well as his domestic transformation of the club he also managed to get them to three Champions Cup quarter-finals.
The 52-year-old went on to thank everyone involved for their help over almost a decade of work at the club and wished them the best for the future.
“I would like to thank all the players, past and present, and the staff I have worked with, especially my heads of department who have become like family. I would also like to thank the Wasps fans who have been unbelievable in their support of me and the Club, particularly during the tougher times. Their loyalty and support have meant a great deal to all of us and has made my journey even more special. It has been a fantastic experience for myself and my family. My wife April and I look forward to following Wasps in the future and supporting Thomas as proud parents from the stands. Wasps has been a huge part of my life and I wish everyone at the Club the best of luck for the future,” he finished.
Club chairman Derek Richardson thanked Young for his hard work over the nine years and says he will always be remembered for what he has done at Wasps.
“I’d like to place my sincere thanks on record to Dai for his hard work and support over the years. He has done a tremendous job and, in particular, I’d like to thank him for his advice and help when I first became involved with the Club, and also his support for the move to Coventry in 2014. We have enjoyed some very special moments and they will always be remembered fondly. I’d like to wish Dai all the best in his future endeavours. He will always be considered a Wasps Legend and will always be welcome at The Ricoh,” he said.
It isn’t confirmed yet as to what Young’s next job will be, but reports last week claimed that he has already been contacted about taking over at the Ospreys as the club look to bounce back from a terrible season to date.
While in his absence Wasps have also confirmed that the structure they announced last week will continue with Lee Blackett continuing as Interim Head Coach as they try to figure out what lies ahead.
Pat Lam commits long-term future to Bristol Bears
Pat Lam has committed his long-term future to Bristol Bears.
The Director of Rugby agrees a new five-year contract, following the completion of his existing deal, until the end of the 2027/2028 campaign.
The most successful Bristol coach since the game turned professional, Lam achieved an immediate promotion back to the top-flight in his first season at the helm. In 2019, he led Bears to ninth position – the highest points tally for a newly promoted club in twelve years.
A year later, Bristol clinched a third placed finish in the Gallagher Premiership and secured their first major silverware since 1983 with a European Challenge Cup Final victory over Toulon.
“He has embraced the rebrand and our vision of ‘Inspiring Our Community Through Rugby Success’. From the Academy to our Women’s team, Pat lives and breathes our mission every day. He has given the city a rugby club we can be proud of.”
Then, last season, Bristol recorded their highest ever regular season position, topping the table and making the Champions Cup knockout stages, while Lam was awarded Global Reach Director of Rugby of the Year.
Owner Steve Lansdown said: “What Pat and his team have achieved in a short space of time at Bristol Bears is excellent, but it’s not just the way that the team have performed on the field, it’s the culture and standards he has set to continually drive the organisation forward.
“Bristol Bears are on an exciting journey, and we are delighted to have Pat at the forefront of that. He has embraced the rebrand and our vision of ‘Inspiring Our Community Through Rugby Success’. From the Academy to our Women’s team, Pat lives and breathes our mission every day. He has given the city a rugby club we can be proud of.”
Chairman Chris Booy said: “We’re delighted to have secured Pat’s signature on a long-term contract. It’s no surprise he would have the interest of every top club in the world, so it’s testament to the ambition of the Bears that Pat was eager to stay.
“We are absolutely aligned on the direction of the club. Bristol Bears will continue to grow and we will achieve sustainable success at the top of the domestic and European game.
“Pat has built a squad of humble young men who not only represent our community superbly, they play an innovative brand of rugby that has everybody taking notice.”
Director of Rugby Pat Lam said: “It’s an absolute honour to continue as Director of Rugby at Bristol Bears. To have the opportunity to work with a great group of people, and to represent our community with pride and love is very special.
“I am grateful to have the continued support of Steve, Jon and Chris and I’m thankful that they have entrusted me to keep leading the Bristol Bears along our journey of Inspiring Our Community Through Rugby Success.
“While we have come a long way in the last four years, I am really excited by what is still to come as we challenge all of us individually and collectively to raise the bar every day.
“I genuinely believe that now we have all our Men, Women and Academy aligned as one club, we are poised to bring a lot of inspiration and success, on and off the field, for many years ahead and I feel very humbled to be a part of it.”
Harlequins squad for 2021/22 campaign
Harlequins’ coaching team have announced the Club’s squad to tackle the 2021/22 campaign
Director of Rugby Performance Billy Millard and Senior Coach Tabai Matson have named a 61-man squad for the season ahead, consisting of 37 senior squad members and 24 Harlequins Academy players.
Second row Stephan Lewies will continue to lead the Club having led the men in the Famous Quarters to a Gallagher Premiership trophy in just his first season as Club Captain last year, with the Springbok lock ready to lead his side as they look to defend their title.
“I’m honoured to be able to continue leading Harlequins alongside a strong senior group,” said Lewies. “This is a special group and a special place. We’ll look to keep serving this team to the best of our ability.
“We know the challenge we face this season. It will be different to those we faced last season. We’re excited by the challenge and looking to continuously grow as a team.
“We are determined to not stand still; to keep improving as the season goes on and peak at the right time.
“We want to stay true to our DNA playing the Quins way with smiles on our faces.”
Eager to kick-off his first competitive game with Quins this weekend, Matson said: “We’re delighted with how the squad has shaped up over the summer. We’ve had two great pre-season games to prep, and the team are so focused on starting the season playing the Harlequins Way this season again.
“There’s a heap of hugely talented individuals here that went all the way last year, but, equally, we’ve had some stellar players and people join us over the off season who will help Quins continue that development.
“What’s really impressed me has been how determined everyone in the group is to continue evolving the rugby this year. Staying true to that Harlequins style but improving on any weaknesses. It’s an exciting playing and coaching group to be a part of and we can’t wait to get started on Sunday.”
David Ofori Manteaw*
Santiago Garcia Botta
Stephan Lewies – Captain
Team news: Bristol Bears vs Saracens – GP R1
Bristol Bears welcome newly promoted Saracens to Ashton Gate Stadium in a mouthwatering Gallagher Premiership opener on Friday (7.45pm KO).
A bumper crowd is expected in BS3 as Pat Lam’s men return to action under the lights in the competition curtain raiser.
Steven Luatua will skipper the side from the back row, while Bears include eight internationals in the starting line-up.
Harry Randall returns from England duty to take his place in the 23-man squad among the replacements.
Bristol Bears team to face Saracens at Ashton Gate Stadium on Friday, September 17th (7.45pm KO):
15. Charles Piutau; 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Piers O’Conor, 12. Alapati Leiua, 11. Ioan Lloyd; 10. Callum Sheedy, 9. Andy Uren; 1. Jake Woolmore, 2. Harry Thacker, 3. Max Lahiff, 4. Ed Holmes, 5. Chris Vui, 6. Steven Luatua (c), 7. Dan Thomas, 8. Nathan Hughes.
System players: 16. Will Capon, 17. Yann Thomas, 18. Jake Armstrong, 19. Dave Attwood, 20. Jake Heenan, 21. Harry Randall, 22. Sam Bedlow, 23. Niyi Adeolokun.
Unavailable: Bryan Byrne, John Afoa, Kyle Sinckler, Joe Joyce, Tom Whiteley, Tiff Eden, Semi Radradra, Henry Purdy, Siva Naulago.
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