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Bristol boost coaching staff for next term

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: March 21, 2014

By STEVE COTTON

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Bristol have once again demonstrated their ruthlessness as they bid to establish themselves as a major force in the game, by appointing Scarlets forwards coach Danny Wilson on a three-year deal from this summer.

The former London Welsh head coach, who was born in Weston-super-Mare, is so highly-regarded by the Welsh region that he will continue to spend one day a week with them as a scrum coach.

Wilson's arrival ahead of the 2014-15 season will see Matt Ferguson leave Bristol after two seasons with the club.

"Bristol has traditionally prided itself on having a dominant pack – and I'm looking forward to developing that element over the next few years with a talented group of players," said Wilson.

After appointing Sean Holley as first-team coach last summer, director of rugby Andy Robinson has wasted no opportunity to develop what he sees as an elite coaching team.

"Danny's track record speaks for itself – he has a reputation for nurturing players," said Robinson. "He has significant experience in Wales – with the national team and the regions – and we are confident that Danny can add value to what we are trying to build at Bristol.

"I'd like to thank Matthew Ferguson, whose hard work over the past two seasons has ensured solid foundations have been put in place."

Wilson, 37, previously served as forwards coach at Newport Gwent Dragons, as well as coaching the Wales Under-20 side at two IRB Junior World Championships.

Scarlets have confirmed that, while Wilson will leave his role as full-time forwards coach, he will remain with the region on a consultancy basis next season.

Head coach Simon Easterby said: "We have respected that Danny wanted to take the opportunity presented to him by Bristol to be part of his home club and return to his rugby roots with his family.

"We've supported Danny in the move and it's clear there is ambition and investment at Bristol and a real intent to take things forward. We've come to a positive and progressive agreement that allows Danny to continue technical scrum work with us on a weekly basis. We are retaining his expertise and knowledge."

Holley, meanwhile, has accused some of Bristol's GKIPA Championship rivals of "jealousy" over the club's ability to spend this week at a training camp in Portugal.

Promotion-chasing Bristol have been preparing for Sunday's trip to Leeds at a warm-weather training camp – and coach Holley said any club would do the same if given the opportunity.

The Welshman did not cite any specific examples – but his comments suggest there is an undercurrent of envy in Championship circles when it comes to Bristol's spending under Steve Lansdown.

"The outside perception doesn't bother us one bit," said the former Ospreys coach. "We've got a job to do and what other people think of us coming here is their business.

"We're clear on the objective: we've worked hard all winter in very sodden conditions. We've got no indoor or artificial pitch, and we're limited with Clifton having a lot of youth and kids rugby there.

"We felt it was a good time to give the squad a bit of a boost and a bit of a refresher. It's a good time in the season, with some big games coming up and the challenge of competing on two fronts, to come over here.

"We're not bothered about what other people think – they can think what they like. We feel that we're doing things professionally."

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