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Bath confirm Stuart Hooper will get assistance in first year as head coach

James Hooper

Bath have appointed Stuart Hooper as their director of rugby as of next season, with the rookie coach set to be assisted by Neal Hatley.

Hooper was anointed the heir to Todd Blackadder in December last year as part of an overhaul to Bath’s coaching structure.

But with Blackadder exiting the Rec at the end of the season to take over Japanese club Toshiba Brave Lupus, the Premiership club have been forced to bring forward their plans and forgo a grooming period for Hooper.

The former Bath captain will oversee a coaching department packing considerable experience as Neal Hatley returns as forwards and defence coach.

The England scrum coach will leave the RFU after the World Cup to join Hooper’s set-up, which includes Girvan Dempsey continuing as attack and backs coach.

Tempered with inconsistency during Blackadder’s tenure, Bath players will have every chance to improve in Hooper’s hunt for trophies.

“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,” said Hooper.

“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.”

Hatley and Dempsey will be joined by Luke Charteris who begins a journey of his own as a specialist line-out coach.

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