McGeechan: Bath not the finished article
August 10, 2011
McGeechan will now be holding the helm at Bath on his own after the departure of Steve Meehan © Getty Images
Bath director of rugby Sir Ian McGeechan is relishing the chance to work with Bath's newlook coaching team ahead of the forthcoming Aviva Premiership season.
And McGeechan is going into the forthcoming Premiership season delighted with the two coaches he is working alongside - Brad Davis and Martin Haag. Former head coach Steve Meehan arrived at the Recreation Ground in 2006 alongside the now Melbourne Rebels forward coach Mark Bakewell and stayed at the helm until the end of the 2010-11 season. There were rumours circulating throughout last season - however - that perhaps Meehan was not happy with McGeechan's arrival.
Despite this it is the former British & Irish Lions coach who has remained at the Rec and McGeechan is looking forward to working with Davis and Haag ahead of the 2011-12 season. "There are two young coaches there in Brad and Martin Haag and we are getting on very well," said McGeechan, who was talking at the launch of the Rugby Football Union's new coaching academy.
"I've been a head coach driving everything in the past and I am now doing it through them instead - while continuing to develop coaches and players. The nice thing is I can be hands on if required but I much prefer to do as much as I can through the two young coaches and we will evolve as a club through the coaches as well as the players."
Bath have had a huge turnover of players over the summer with the likes of Butch James, Luke Watson and Shontayne Hape leaving the Recreation Ground while Bath favourites Danny Grewcock and David Barnes opted to hang up their boots. In their place are new signings Francois Louw, Dave Attwood and rugby league convert Kyle Eastmond among others.
And McGeechan believes there is still much work to be done at the Rec. "We are midway around the transitional circle with the new players coming in. We are still learning where we are as a team. There's a little direction needed there and work needs to be done on the understanding within the side."
With McGeechan seemingly bidding farewell to the coaching side of the British & Irish Lions in 2009, the former Scotland coach admitted the opportunity at Bath was just too good to turn down.
"It was a new challenge at Bath and an exciting project in a management way," he said. "To have that opportunity has been a huge challenge and something I am excited about. In a Lions context I saw the 2009 as the circle being complete and got a bit more emotional than I should have done."
Bath now face the Melbourne Rebels in a pre-season friendly on Friday with the Rebels set to pick former Bath players Gareth Delve and Michael Lipman in their squad. Former England fly-half Danny Cipriani will also be in the Rebels squad and he will be aiming to prove to England selectors that he is still worth considering for the fly-half berth.
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