Ashton to return to Bath as Head Coach www.bathrugby.com By Dom Rumbles Bath Rugby are delighted to announce that Brian Ashton will be joining the club in the capacity of head coach. The club would like to take this opportunity to thank John Connolly for his major contribution in helping to restore Bath Rugbyâ€™s pride and position in the rugby world. John will continue in his role until the end of the month, and Brian will officially take office on 1st January 2006. The interim period of December will be in the safe hands of Mike Foley and Richard Graham. Brian will be assisted by both Mike and Richard and call on the able services of Jack Rowell. Jack will be on hand to advise Brian in his capacity as a non-executive director. John Connolly, who has had a significant impact during the past three seasons as head coach, said today that he was pleased that the club had appointed such a respected figure and stated that the club was in good hands going forward. â€œBath Rugby is a great club and I have experienced a wonderful two and a half years here, but I have always said that it was time to move on,â€ said Connolly today to www.bathrugby.com. â€œHowever, the club is being left in a good position and in very safe hands. The current crop of players have been a pleasure to work with as have coaches Mike Foley and Rich Graham, and alongside Brian Ashton I am sure that they will continue to take the club forward. I would like to wish Brian all the very best.â€ Club chairman Andrew Brownsword said to www.bathrugby.com today, â€œThe appointment is an important step in the building process to ensure that Bath Rugby remains a force to be reckoned with in Europe. Brian has the experience and recognised ability to extend the excellent progress achieved in the past three rebuilding seasons. Congratulations must also go to Bob Calleja for patiently pursuing and finally securing such a high-profile and respected figure within rugby circles. I know that Brian will be given full support from everyone associated with Bath Rugby.â€ Brian Ashton biography Born: 3rd September 1946 in Leigh, Lancashire Playing history: England North, Barbarians, Lancashire, Tyldesley, Fylde, Orrell, AS Montferrand, Roma, Milan, England tourist. Coaching history: National Academy Manager (2002-present), England A and Churchill Cup, England Assistant coach (1998-2002), Ireland head coach (1997-1998), Bath head coach (1994-1996). Bath assistant coach (1989-94). ________________________________ Doubtless of little interest to most of you, but this is a MAJOR piece of news for Bath fans, the missing piece if you will. So many Bath fans have been pushing for this for so long, so you'll have to excuse our elation!