Director of Rugby Stuart Hooper today confirmed the appointment of Neal Hatley as Bath Rugby Head Coach.
Hatley returned to Bath Rugby as Forwards and Defence Coach after helping guide England to the Rugby World Cup Final in Japan.
He re-joined Bath Rugby after three and half successful years in the international setup, bringing with him a wealth of experience at all levels of the professional game.
Hooper said: “We’re thrilled to confirm Neal as Head Coach. The Director of Rugby and Head Coach setup has always been the route I want to follow. I believe it’s the right way to get the best out of our people.
“Bringing Neal back into our environment was about reconnecting, finding out how I can complement him, how he can complement me and how we can deliver the best programme here at the Club.”
Hatley began his coaching career with London Irish as academy manager after a playing career that included 193 Premiership matches as prop for London Irish and Bedford.
Appointed to Eddie Jones’ England coaching team as scrum coach in April 2016, his highlights with England Rugby include away Test series wins in Australia and Argentina as well as a Six Nations title and a Rugby World Cup Final.
Hatley said: “When I rejoined Bath, Stuart was very clear about what we are trying to do at the Club. Now as Head Coach at Bath, I’m responsible for field performance.
"With my focus on delivering great performances on the pitch, it allows Stuart to focus on how we want to play and perform, making sure we are doing what we discussed in training and optimising everything we do.
“As Head Coach, I want to make sure I get the best out of our players and that’s a lot about building relationships, knowing they trust your leadership. I’ve set out very clearly how I expect our players to behave, how I expect them to train and how we expect to treat each other.
“Not only is Bath an incredible city to live in but it’s a rugby city through and through. I feel incredibly proud to be Head Coach at this Club and believe me, we want to win silverware.”
Hatley’s first match as Head Coach will be the resumption of the Gallagher Premiership 2019/20 season when Bath Rugby host London Irish at the Rec on Saturday.
Hooper added: “You can talk about significant expertise in areas of the game but it’s only a small part of being Head Coach. Neal’s ability to connect with the players and develop those relationships along with his ability to deliver the key principles of our play is a huge skill.
“He takes players on the journey and helps them understand why we do what we do. His ability to connect with those guys, influence them, develop them outside of the training field is massive and an absolutely fundamental part of being a Head Coach.
“In the same way I look at how we can build a world-class squad, exactly the same detail and thought goes into our rugby staff. I believe that appointing Hats in this role makes our coaching team even stronger as we head into the culmination of the season.”