Rugby Union

Mike Ford looking forward to new opportunities following Bath departure

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Football News

Mike Ford says he is looking forward to "embracing the new opportunities that lie ahead" following his departure from Aviva Premiership club Bath.

Head coach Ford's Recreation Ground exit was announced by Bath on Monday.

It followed a season of under-achievement that saw Bath finish ninth in the Premiership, 17 points adrift of the play-off places.

And it also meant that they failed to secure prized European Champions Cup qualification for next term.

Former England defence coach Ford, who had three years left on his Bath contract, led them to the Premiership final at Twickenham last May, when they were beaten by Saracens.

Bath are now reviewing their coaching set-up, with former South Africa boss Heyneke Meyer and Connacht's Pat Lam among those to be linked with the post.

Ford said on Twitter on Tuesday: "It was an honour to be part of the Bath Family for 4 yrs. Thank you to the staff and players, past and present, for their commitment.

"Thank you to the Bath Family for your unbelievable support. Disappointed I couldn't take the next step with you!

"I leave Bath Rugby with so many wonderful memories and now look forward to embracing the new opportunities that lie ahead."

With Bath forwards coach and scrum specialist Neal Hatley joining Eddie Jones' England set-up, the west country club are facing a considerable reshaping of their coaching staff.

Bath managing director Tarquin McDonald said in a statement on the club's website on Monday: "Over the four years Mike has been with the club, both he and the team under his guidance have achieved a huge amount.

"He has developed an exciting, attacking style of rugby, helped to develop exciting talent and in 2014-15 he brought the team to the final against Saracens at Twickenham.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mike for all his hard work, passion and commitment to the club and wish him all the best for the future."

The statement continued: "Bath Rugby is currently reviewing the coaching set-up for the upcoming 2016-2017 season and will make a further announcement in due course."

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