English Premiership
McGeechan joins Bath
June 30, 2010
Former British & Irish Lions coach Ian McGeechan casts an eye over a training session, January, 2010
Sir Ian McGeechan will return to the Premiership stage next season with west country giants Bath © Getty Images

Sir Ian McGeechan is set for a return to the Premiership stage after agreeing to become Bath's new performance director.

The British & Irish Lions legend, who has also tasted Premiership and Heineken Cup glory with London Wasps, will join the club next month ahead of the new season after agreeing a two-year deal that will see him work alongside current head coach Steve Meehan. McGeechan, who has not held a high profile post since leading the Lions to South Africa in 2009, most recently acted as a consultant for Premiership side Gloucester last season and is relishing a return to rugby's front line.

"This is an exciting project. The team is going well under Steve," McGeechan said. "Now we are looking at the challenge to keep evolving, to have everything in place to have a consistent and successful team.

"Performance director covers all the support systems behind the first team, which includes the academy, and looking at all the things we need in place to recognise talent, develop it and then use it at the very highest level.

"Bruce [Craig, Bath chairman] is investing in bringing a club which has a very successful tradition, particularly as an amateur club, and the challenge is to have a good professional set-up behind the first team to have consistent performances on the field, get to those finals and win some silverware."

Craig, who completed his purchase of the club earlier this year, recruited McGeechan in a bid to bring major honours back to the club for the first time since the 1998 Heineken Cup. "As part of our continued commitment to the success of Bath, we are delighted that Sir Ian will be joining us," he said. "His contribution to rugby union is unrivalled and he has been at the forefront of rugby development for many years now - really, he needs no introduction.

"Ian will become an integral part of our management set-up, enhancing an already well established and successful coaching team and working with head coach Steve Meehan to nurture and enhance the talent and performance of the whole squad."

Meehan also welcomed the expertise offered by McGeechan, adding, "I have always enjoyed talking rugby with Ian whenever we have met up, so to now have him working with us is fantastic. We are keen to build upon our great finish to last season and adding Ian, with all his experience, to an already strong coaching and support staff will help us to even greater success."

McGeechan boasts one of the most distinguished careers in the world of rugby having acted as the Lions' head coach in 1989, 1993, 1997 and 2009 - steering the elite tourists to series victories over Australia in 1989 and South Africa in 1997. He coached Scotland to a Grand Slam in the 1990 Five Nations and also led them to the 1991 Rugby World Cup semi-finals where they were narrowly beaten 9-6 by England.

His coaching CV also includes a stint with Northampton but he cemented his reputation at Wasps where the team won the Anglo-Welsh Cup, Heineken Cup and Premiership title during his tenure. As a player he represented Scotland a total of 32 times and toured with the Lions in 1974 and 1977.

© Scrum.com

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