Bath confirm Bakewell appointment
July 21, 2006

Bath Rugby have confirmed the arrival of Mark Bakewell at the club as their new forwards coach. Although his appointment has been widely reported, confirmation of the post has been dependent on his gaining a work permit.

The process has taken some time, but with the help of Don Foster MP, the club has been able to make the announcement official, and he will now join the club's new backs coach, Steve Meehan, in the Bath coaching line-up.

Bakewell was born in New Zealand but began his coaching career in Australia, where as coach of Sydney Eastern Suburbs he was named New South Wales Coach of the Year in 2000. He moved to France in 2001 to take up the position of head coach at Brive, and helped them to recover their first division status. He then took up a coaching role at Beziers in 2003, working alongside Jean-Pierre Elissalde, and then Olivier Saisset for two seasons.

Bath Rugby's Chief Executive Bob Calleja said: "We are extremely pleased that Mark Bakewell's work permit has finally been approved. We now have two full-time, experienced coaches working with the squad. I would particularly like to thank Don Foster, our local MP, for his contribution and advice in the application process."

Bakewell will start his new job this coming Monday 24th July. He is looking forward to working alongside Meehan during pre-season, and harnessing all his experience to help the players to achieve their potential. "It's an honour to work at a club like Bath; it is a fantastic opportunity for myself. I'm looking forward to bringing some of my own ideas to the role and building on the outstanding technical foundations left by Michael Foley.

"Steve Meehan and I have the same philosophies on how the game should be played. Having both spent a number of years coaching in France and Australia, I believe we have a very broad vision of rugby. Including England, the three cultures are very different, and the aim is to apply our experiences to the team culture at Bath Rugby and take the side forward.

"I'm also a massive believer that all players are important from the captain down, and one of the factors I want to instil in the players is a group mentality of everyone putting in the same level of application and feeling of importance. It's a long, very intense season so at different times you have to call on all the players.

"Our objective is to have Bath playing attractive rugby. We are very conscious of what went before us and we want to work with that."

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