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Author

Tom Tainton

writes

Posted Wednesday, November 20th 2019

Jonathan Thomas to join Warriors at the end of the season

Jonathan Thomas will leave Bristol Bears after four seasons at the end of the 2019/20 campaign.

The forward coach – who arrived at Ashton Gate in 2016 - has agreed terms to join Worcester Warriors as forwards coach.

The 36 year-old has played a key role in Pat Lam’s backroom team, helping the club to a record-breaking Championship title in 2018, before playing his part in Bristol’s highest Premiership finish in twelve years last season.

“The decision to leave Bristol Bears has been an incredibly difficult one. I’ve loved my time here and grown so much from the experience – I’m grateful for their understanding and support,” said Thomas.

“It takes a strong character to make tough decisions, but I’m really pleased that JT has put his wife Laura and children Kobi, Maya and Rudy at the forefront of his decision."

Director of Rugby Pat Lam

“Coaching at the top level requires a huge amount of time and emotional investment and, ultimately, you’re always juggling your work-life balance. Since finishing playing for Worcester in 2015, I’ve continued to live with my wife and three children in South Worcestershire. We have fallen in love with the area and, as a family, are really settled.

“Obviously, I’m a former Warrior with a close affinity and passion for the club and its supporters. When Alan [Solomons] and the new owners spoke to me about the opportunity and explained the exciting vision they have, it was something that I felt was right for me personally and professionally.

“First and foremost, my focus now is on the Bears and our goals, so I can leave on a high next summer, hopefully with silverware. That’s what the fans of this club deserve as they are true supporters and have been outstanding the whole time through thick and thin.

“Pat has been tremendously understanding and supported a really tough decision. That underlines the environment that Bristol has. One thing that really resonates is the close relationship and alignment between all the coaches, players and back room staff.

“I’m proud of what we’ve achieved with this group of forwards and when I depart at the end of the season, the foundations are laid for the next guy to step in and continue that work.

“Pat talks about the importance of progression and consistency, of leaving a legacy for the next person to take on, and hopefully that’s the case here.”

As well as his achievements with Bristol Bears, former Wales international Thomas linked up with Pat Lam as part of the Barbarians coaching team in 2018 and 2019.

Director of Rugby Lam added: “JT is an excellent team man and an outstanding young coach. Everybody at Bristol Bears values his effort and contribution to the club over the past four seasons.

“JT’s development has been superb - he’s shown fantastic growth as a coach and as a person. I’m sad to lose him, but pleased he will have more family time and that he’ll be joining my good friend Solly at Worcester who will continue to oversee his development  into a future world class head coach.

“It takes a strong character to make tough decisions, but I’m really pleased that JT has put his wife Laura and children Kobi, Maya and Rudy at the forefront of his decision. We support JT wholeheartedly and completely understand his reasons for doing so.

“Our culture is about love and respecting one another. JT has contributed massively to our vision and he can always be proud of the part that he played in the Bristol Bears story.

“Until his departure at the end of the campaign, JT remains an integral member of the coaching group as we strive as one team to achieve our season goals.”