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BATH RUGBY: Gold invested in Bath’s future
BATH head coach Gary Gold is convinced there is no danger of the new chapter in the club’s history being haunted by the ghosts of the past.
Gold’s new coaching set-up, which includes former London Irish chief Toby Booth, ex-England defence guru Mike Ford, scrum specialist Neal Hatley and skills man Brad Davis, the sole survivor from the previous regime led by Sir Ian McGeechan, faces its first competitive test at Worcester Warriors in their Aviva Premiership opener on September 1.
The South African’s regime has been charged with revitalising the fortunes of English rugby’s fallen giants after a disappointing 2011-12 campaign, which saw them win just nine of 22 league games and fail to qualify for this season’s Heineken Cup.
Much of the squad from that under-par season remains intact, but Gold believes his team’s fresh ideas will ensure there is no hangover.
Gold said: “I think the fact of the confidence being low from last year is pretty much irrelevant really. When you start pre-season and, as coaching staff, we put our ideas forward to them and where you want to go with them, the lack of confidence goes out of the window.
“What we are able to do as coaching staff is sell them a plan that we believe works and when they see it working out on the training field, they gain confidence.’’
He added: “Rugby players are quite resilient individuals. You see when the Barbarians get together, they come from all corners of the world. But after two games of golf and a couple of beers, they are ready to play pretty good rugby on a Saturday.
“I don’t really think that there is that much of a hangover from last year. It was a clean sheet, if I’m honest. We’re quite a tight unit and we know where we want to go.
“Last year is just that. It’s last year. It’s a new team, there are probably in total 10 guys who have come into the squad so it’s a new season, the guys are renewed and invigorated and have set about their task.’’
Club owner Bruce Craig has invested heavily in a bid to return Bath to English rugby’s elite, with Gold’s five-strong coaching team a response to McGeechan’s over-stretched and under-manned set-up.
But Gold added: “There are no goals in terms of how many games we need to win, we’re here to win games and here to win a lot of them and that’s what the expectation is.
“The owner (Craig) has been outstanding in terms of knowing that’s not what it’s about. He wants to see the team well coached and he wants them with the right attitude.
“We’ve broken the game down into quite minute detail and every one of the guys has got an area they’ve got to oversee, not too dissimilar to the way the international teams do it.
“Our responsibility is to have an attention to detail meaning we can give the very best coaching and tactical information that are concerned with the guys in that area of the club.
“Our goals are pretty much set around that, around each of us as individuals being able to achieve the targets we set ourselves.
“The targets are higher, but they are realistic in terms of what we want to achieve. The truth of the matter is that if all five of our units are functioning and the attutide is correct, we’ll win a hell of a lot more games than we lose.’’