Young Gloucester Rugby coaching team assembled

A young Gloucester Rugby coaching team has been assembled and confirmed with today’s announcement that Dom Waldouck will take up the position of defence coach. Even ignoring the Coronavirus pandemic, it has been a whirlwind three months at Kingsholm. First the departure of Johan Ackermann, followed by David Humphreys and Rory Teague, left a huge management void with the 2019/20 season still to complete.

So who are the men tasked with turning Gloucester’s fortunes around? What are their coaching credentials?

George Skivington: Head Coach

The first and obviously most important appointment was that of George Skivington. Several high profile names were rumoured, but it was Skivington who impressed with a vision and analysis of shortcomings to take the job. The former Wasps second row arrived from London Irish, where he was forwards coach.

He may not have experience of a Premiership Head Coach role, but it is clear that Gloucester are looking to build around Skivington, and there is now a clear break from previous southern hemisphere-led coaching teams.

Alex King: attack coach

On paper, Alex King is the most experienced coach in the new setup. He first coached at Clermont Auvergne, where he finished playing, where he spent four years as backs coach. During this time les jaunards won a rare final, claiming the Bouclier de Brennus in 2010.

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King moved to Northampton in 2013 and again supported a title-winning side as backs coach. The former fly-half remained with the Saints until 2016, before taking up the Wales attack coach role. This was a less successful spell; Wales finished fifth scoring only eight tries in the 2017 Six Nations.

Most recently King has had another three year spell in France with Montpellier, whom Gloucester faced in this year’s Champions Cup. It was nearly another Top14 title for King but Montpellier lost to Castres in the 2018 final.

Alex King will have work to do to win over the Cherry and White faithful; he scored 24 points against Gloucester in the 2003 Premiership final. But leading an attack to reach a final again would go a long way.

Dom Waldouck: defence coach

The final coach appointed is Dom Waldouck, the third ex-Wasp to sign up in recent weeks. At only 32, Waldouck has barely had time to hang up his boots before taking up the defence coach position.

The centre has been a player/coach for Newcastle Falcons in the Championship this season, so it is very much a step up to full time coach in the Premiership for him. Waldouck has played for Wasps, Northampton and London Irish during his career so certainly knows the lay of the Premiership land. His personal links with Joe Simpson and Danny Cipriani could also be priceless.

The remainers: Tim Taylor and Trevor Woodman

There will be some continuity in coaching however. Tim Taylor has signed a new contract with a slightly altered role of Assistantย Backs & Academy Transition Coach. He has been part of the staff since 2014 now in various capacities, harking back to the Nigel Davies reign.

Finally World Cup winner Trevor Woodman has been retained as Assistant Forwards & Academy Transition Coach, and he has also been involved as a coach with Gloucester since 2014. Before that he was National Scrum Coach for Australia and forwards coach for Wasps.

Young Gloucester Rugby coaching team assembled

With only two coaches over 40, it could be seen as a big risk for Gloucester to entrust the reigns to this group. However with only one top six finish in the last six seasons, there is a case for trying something radically different.

Whilst these appointments are certainly not short-term fixes, the rest of the 2019/20 season can be seen as a trial run for the new Gloucester Rugby coaching team. A possible 24-team Champions Cup means top tier European competition is not lost yet either. As is so often the case, we will have to wait and see what Gloucester can produce on the day.

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