BATH RUGBY: Exit of Gold is a real mystery, says Ojomoh

Wiltshire Times: Former Bath back row Steve Ojomoh was stunned by the timing of Gary Gold’s exit Former Bath back row Steve Ojomoh was stunned by the timing of Gary Gold’s exit

BATH hero Steve Ojomoh admits the timing of director of rugby Gary Gold’s exit from the Rec has left him puzzled.

The former South Africa assistant coach’s departure from the club was confirmed in a brief two-line statement on Monday afternoon, leaving many supporters bewildered.

Bath are third in the Aviva Premiership table after an impressive start to the season and sit top of their Amlin Challenge Cup and LV = Cup pools.

Gold, who arrived at the club to head up a new-look coaching team in the summer of 2012, was shunted upstairs in a review of the structure, but his abrupt exit still came as a major surprise, given Bath’s fine start to the season.

Ojomoh, an integral part of the club’s trophy-laden era of the early 1990s and capped by England 12 times, told the Wiltshire Times: “It baffles me.

“When the appointments (of Gold and the other coaches) were made, I thought it was a structure that looked quite top-heavy, but Bath are now third in the table when this change has been made and it’s not even the end of the season.

“It doesn’t make sense to me. The only thing I can assume is that maybe it’s got something to do with the bringing in of players.

“Perhaps somebody higher up the organisation wanted a certain calibre of player that the director of rugby didn’t want? Perhaps it’s some form of cost-cutting? But I don’t buy that a restructure like that can happen halfway through a season.’’

Bath’s brief statement read only: “The decision was taken following a re-structure in the rugby department and with the best interests of both Gary and the club in mind.

“No further comment will be made until it is appropriate.’’ That angered many supporters who felt the club should have expanded on their reasons for Gold’s exit and prompted the club’s communications director David Flatman to take to Twitter to say: “A difficult situation which we will explain as soon as we are permitted.”

Gold was handed a changed director of rugby brief in the summer, with Mike Ford becoming head coach, assuming responsibility for the day to day preparation of the first team, with Neal Hatley and Toby Booth continuing as first team coaches.

Gold continued to oversee the club's rugby department, with responsibility for recruitment, wage cap management, overseeing the medical and strength and conditioning departments and the Academy.

He had overseen a gradual turnaround in Bath's fortunes.

They finished seventh last term but extensive summer recruitment had helped them start this campaign strongly.

Victory over Italian minnows Mogliano in the Amlin Challenge Cup tomorrow (3pm) would make it 10 wins in succession in all competitions.

Ojomoh, now head coach at Trowbridge RFC, added: “He (Gold) definitely started a decent job.

“His team didn’t waste any time in shoring up the playing side of things and he had brought players of the highest quality into the club.

“I think he can look back on his short spell as having plenty of success.

“There was a lot of senior management, with Mike Ford, Toby Booth and Neal Hatley also there, but as long as the results were coming, you didn’t question it.’’

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