Worcester Warriors have recruited top Scrum Coach Mark Irish to join a new-look and exciting coaching team at Sixways for the 2020/21 season.
The former England Under-21 international prop will join Warriors as Scrum and Assistant Forwards Coach from Bristol Bears along with new Forwards Coach Jonathan Thomas at the end of the current season.
Irish, 38, also worked with Warriors Director of Rugby Alan Solomons when Solomons had a stint as a coaching consultant at Bristol three years ago.
✍️ Welcome to Sixways Mark Irish, who will join as Scrum and Assistant Forwards Coach next season ⬇️— Worcester Warriors (@WorcsWarriors) May 4, 2020
“It is great news for the club that Iro has decided to join us as our Scrum and Assistant Forwards Coach,” said Solomons.
“Iro is one of the leading scrum coaches in the Premiership and has done a terrific job at Bristol.
“In his time at Bristol he has formed a strong relationship with JT, our Forwards Coach for next season.
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“I have no doubt that our forward pack will benefit immeasurably from their expertise and synergy.
“Iro, who is well known to me, is a tremendous bloke and a great team man, who will fit in superbly here at Sixways. I am really looking forward to working with him.”
What a full strength Bristol Bears XV might look like next season
Although many more of the 40 plus squad could make an argument for inclusion, here’s a potential Bristol Bears XV ahead of the 2020/21 Gallagher Premiership season.
Player whose names are in italics are players Bristol are rumoured to be interested in, but are yet to be signed.
A POTENTIAL BRISTOL BEARS XV
1. John Afoa
A World Cup-winning All Black international of 36 caps, the experienced prop joined the club in 2018.
The tight-head was named in the Gallagher Premiership team of the season in 2018/19 after another remarkable campaign in the top flight.
2. Harry Thacker
A skillful dynamo of a hooker, Thacker was added to Pat Lam’s squad for the 2018/19 season.
In an impressive debut season that included a hat-trick versus Wasps and a scintillating brace versus Tigers, Thacker was listed in the Guardian team of the year.
3. Kyle Sinckler
The 26-year-old British & Irish Lions forward will switch Premiership clubs in the summer of 2020.
Sinckler, who made his professional debut for Quins in September 2011, was a key part of England’s 2019 World Cup side but only played three minutes of the final against South Africa after being knocked unconscious in a collision with team-mate Maro Itoje.
4. Chris Vui
The 24 year-old – who can play second row or back row – earned his first cap for Samoa during the 2016 November internationals.
Vui became the youngest captain in World Rugby when he skippered Samoa in 2017, before earning a spot in the Championship team of the season.
In 2019, Vui made his debut for the Barbarians following an impressive campaign for the Bears in the Gallagher Premiership.
5. George Kruis
A decade after his debut for Saracens, the 29-year-old Lion from Guildford is understood to be considering a career move to the Far East, having been there last autumn for the World Cup.
However, if the Bears could convince Kruis to remain in the Gallagher Premiership and come to Ashton Gate, he would make their line-out imperious.