The second new director of rugby in next season’s Heineken Champions Cup is Stuart Hooper, who has taken over from Todd Blackadder at Bath Rugby.
Where is he from?
The 37-year-old has spent the last 11 years of his career at Bath, initially as a player from 2008 until 2016 – when he was forced to retire due to a back injury – then as performance and player development director, and finally as general manager. He captained Bath for five seasons.
What is his previous coaching experience?
Hooper, who also played for Saracens and Leeds Carnegie in his 17-year senior career, has never held a full senior coaching role previously. His role as director of performance and player development largely involved managing the academy, while that of general manager saw him heavily connected to the senior coaching programme, player recruitment and retention.
Who will be in his coaching team?
Hooper will oversee the experienced Neal Hatley, who joins the club as forwards and defence coach following England’s World Cup campaign, and Girvan Dempsey, who continues as attack and backs coach, plus former Wales lock Luke Charteris, who joins Bath as line-out coach after retiring as a player last season.
What does he think of his appointment?
“I will do everything in my power to get this great club back to winning trophies. My task is to ensure my team and I give the players every opportunity to get better, to learn and to grow every single day.”