Bath Rugby today confirms the appointment of Stuart Hooper as Director of Rugby, a role within which he will lead the rugby department, with an exciting coaching team at the helm and be charged with driving the Club into a new period of high-performance and success.
Hooper’s appointment follows a clear process of thought and consideration by Bath Rugby, a process which affirmed the view that he is the right person to lead the Club into the future. As Director of Rugby Hooper will provide strength, leadership and a clear direction for the coaching team and squad to provide greater consistency of performance to underpin domestic and European success.
In leading the rugby programme, Hooper will oversee two experienced coaches alongside a contingent of exciting emergent coaching talent. This sees Neal Hatley join the Club as Forwards and Defence Coach following England’s World Cup campaign this Autumn and Girvan Dempsey continuing to develop in his role of Attack and Backs Coach.
Hatley brings a wealth of coaching experience and knowledge of high performing environments during his time with England. The development of Bath Rugby’s players and its game will be significantly benefited by the strength and quality of Hatley’s skills and track record of developing world class players, and driving the performance of a forward pack, to win games at the very highest level.
Hatley’s work to build the Club’s defensive game will be aligned with the attributes and expertise of Dempsey. A true scholar of the game with an exceptional attacking mind, Dempsey will continue to drive the growth of Bath’s attacking game in order to achieve the type of success that Dempsey and Hatley have both enjoyed with Leinster and England.
Both Hatley and Dempsey will be joined by Luke Charteris who will embark on a new career with the Club as a specialist line-out coach. The addition of Charteris provides a strong specialised element to the coaching team, and ensures a progressive set of skills and attributes, alongside the experience of Hatley and Dempsey that will allow the coaching programme at the Club to advance with the objective of becoming world-leading.
Pathway coaches Ryan Davis and Mark Lilley will also progress their roles moving into 2019/20, placing more emphasis not only upon the support and development of the senior academy players in the Club’s 1st XV environment, but also adding significant coaching resource around its first team squad on a day-to-day basis. In this capacity, Davis will support Dempsey on specific areas of attack and skills coaching; Lilley will coach technical areas around the scrum and maul, supporting Hatley and working with Charteris.
Pierre-Henry Broncan will continue to develop his role as Head of Strategic Analysis and Scouting. Broncan will support the Club’s rugby department though his work within analysis across the game, and through his insights into trends, tactics and team approaches and how this integrates into the planning and performance of Bath’s first team programme.
Andy Rock is confirmed in the role of Performance Director. Rock will lead an inter-disciplinary approach to programme design and will bring each function of the performance department together to optimally support the rugby programme, aligning all staff working within Sports Science, Strength and Conditioning, and Sports Medicine and Physiotherapy.
As Performance Director, Rock will work closely with the coaching team in the planning process to ensure that every minute of time on the training field is maximised, and to support the alignment of training approaches and training methods across departments to positively influence the way that Bath Rugby play.
“I feel an immense amount of passion and pride for the Club and for Bath as a city, I will do everything in my power to get this great Club back to winning trophies. Our players are exceptional, the group we have assembled to wear the Blue, Black and White next season is filled with young men desperate to make memories together, for themselves, their families and for those who support us week in week out. My task is to ensure my team and I give the players every opportunity to get better, to learn and to grow every single day.
“We are on a journey right now and we have a lot to do, it will not be easy but we will work hard and we will enjoy it,” commented Hooper on his appointment.
Tarquin McDonald, Bath Rugby’s Chief Executive added: “Stuart, Neal, Girvan and Andy will lead our rugby department strategically and build on the strong foundations already in place as we look to create a world-leading environment here at Bath.
“We are building a system based on who we are, how we play, how we train, and how we develop. These four pillars are underpinned by a clear focus on our standards and developing a deep level of trust within the organisation and its people. We have an exceptional playing group and staff and we want to equip them, develop them individually and collectively to deliver winning performances.
“We will always be judged on the 80 minutes each weekend, but the level of rigour that surrounds the design of our rugby department and training programme is what we believe will deliver consistent performances and successful results.”
Bath Rugby’s Academy and Pathway system is also now in a position of strength and the Club will continue to nurture this. The recent appointment of Craig Lilley as Academy Manager will build on the work of Andy Rock over the last three years as Bath Rugby continue to target a 50% homegrown squad by 2023.
Hatley will join Bath Rugby in the week following England’s final fixture of the World Cup, no later than 9th November 2019.