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Paul Larkin appointed Recruitment Manager

Paul Larkin will join Bristol Bears as Recruitment Manager with immediate effect.

The hugely experienced operator will be responsible for enhancing the current Talent Identification process, implementing a scouting network to identify late developers, whilst developing statistical structures that identify the best players that fulfil the Bears’ criteria from here and around the world.

Larkin spent 25 years as a player and coach at Northampton Saints, before joining the Exeter Chiefs backroom staff. In 2011, Larkin made the switch to Goldington Road to take up the role of Head of Analysis at Bedford Blues.

Lam said: “In the past four seasons, we’ve worked diligently on our recruitment system that builds competition and quality depth across the whole squad. We look to identify players that are motivated by big dreams that are aligned with our club vision and have the attitude and capability to fit into our Bears way on and off the field.

“It’s been fantastic to see how guys who haven’t had game-time at other clubs, including the Championship and the BUCS competition, have come in and developed quickly to be able to make a positive impact for the Bears.

“Now, it’s vital on our journey that we take that recruitment system to the next level and Paul – a man I know very well – has the knowledge and game understanding to ensure we continue to grow, working in alignment with myself and our Performance Analysis department.

“A key focus for us is retention – I have said many times that I want a core of players on the journey making 200 or more appearances for the Bears and we are well on the way to achieving that with our group. We want guys that understand our game, our culture and want to develop as a player, as a leader and as a person.

“In my first season, we signed 20 players as we got promoted from the Championship. In my first year in the Premiership, it was 19 as we continued to rebuild the team and in my second year it was five. Last season, we signed another five players and for 2021/22, we have only signed three so far, with our retention philosophy making a significant difference to our squad.”

Larkin added: “I am honoured as I am aware of the illustrious history of this great club, and excited by the environment, vision and objectives of Bristol Bears under the leadership of Pat Lam. I’ve had the privilege of knowing Pat for many years – the culture and environment that has been built at Bristol Bears is outstanding.

“Detailed analysis has always underpinned my approach to coaching. This I hope gives me a sound grounding of what is required in this new role.

“My focus is ultimately to enhance the current Talent Identification processes of the Elite Development Groups that provides local, aspiring rugby players from schools and the wider region the opportunity to join the programme as we continue to work towards our vision of Inspiring Our Community Through Rugby Success.”


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