Gary Gold added to glittering new Bath set-up

 

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The Independent Online

If certain Premiership clubs are struggling for coaching staff at the end of a fraught season, there is one very good reason: Bath have recruited them all. The West Country club yesterday confirmed that the former Springbok coach Gary Gold would lead them in 2012-13, supported by the former England defence coach Mike Ford and two of the men at the heart of London Irish's progress in recent years, Toby Booth and Neal Hatley.

Booth is one of the brightest young coaches in the country – had Brian Ashton not been sacked as national coach in 2008, he would have been offered a job in the red-rose set-up. He spent almost three years in charge of the Exiles before handing over a large chunk of responsibility to Brian Smith in March. Like Gold and Hatley, he is seen primarily as a forwards specialist. Bath have yet to confirm his job description.

Gold coached Irish in the mid-2000s. He also worked with the Stormers before joining the Springboks for the series with the Lions in 2009 and the World Cup in 2011. Earlier this year, he agreed a short-term deal with Newcastle and went close to saving their bacon.

Wales are satisfied that Sam Warburton, their captain, will recover from a shoulder injury to take a full part in the tour of Australia. His predecessor in the red No 7 shirt, Martyn Williams, can expect a 100th cap against the Barbarians next month. "It's nothing to do with sentiment," said the coach, Rob Howley.

The Cardiff Blues will return to the Arms Park next season after three years at the Cardiff City Stadium. "This is important for our future sustainability," said chief executive Richard Holland.

Harlequins' Chris Robshaw was last night named as the Aviva Premiership player of the year. Saracens' Owen Farrell was young player of the year and Exeter's Rob Baxter coach of the year.

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