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Gethin Watts appointed senior Academy Manager

Bristol Bears are delighted to confirm the appointment of Gethin Watts as senior Academy Manager.

Formerly National Performance Manager at the Welsh Rugby Union, Watts led the strategy of the WRU’s elite pathway between 2011 and 2017.

Watts arrives in the West Country with immediate effect and joins Pat Lam’s backroom team as part of an Academy restructure, which sees Gary Townsend appointed as junior Academy Manager.

Sean Marsden becomes Academy transition coach, with a second transition coach – replacing the role of Peter Walton – to be revealed shortly.

“It’s fantastic to welcome somebody of Gethin’s calibre and experience into the Bears Academy following a detailed recruitment process,” said Director of Rugby Lam.

“We received a significant number of applications for the position, but Gethin’s leadership qualities and understanding of performance strategy shone through.

“The development of homegrown players who can be regular Champions Cup performers is central to our vision – we believe that Gethin’s arrival – working in tandem with Gary [Townsend] and in alignment with the senior team, will help us become world class in our Academy.

“We’re grateful to Mike Hall for his contribution over the past nine seasons and look forward to having Gethin onboard.”

“We received a significant number of applications for the position, but Gethin’s leadership qualities and understanding of performance strategy shone through."

Pat Lam, Director of Rugby

A hugely experienced Academy manager, Watts previously led the Ospreys Academy and Cardiff Blues Academy, overseeing the development of some of Wales’ most prominent international talent.

He added: “The opportunity to be part of the Bristol Bears organisation is hugely exciting. The foundations at Academy level have been set and now there’s an impetus on me to build on these achievements and contribute to the next chapter for the club.

“I hope that I can positive contribute to the Academy vision, developing the structures and mindsets in place – for staff and players – to ensure that we achieve our common goal of being a world class Academy producing homegrown talent.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to have recruited and led teams at club and international level for many years, so I understand the importance of establishing a philosophy and alignment that brings clarity at all levels.

“The importance of the Bears and rugby to Bristol and the surrounding regions is paramount, I’m privileged to take on the role of enhancing and improving the pathway opportunities for local players into the first team.”