Toby Booth: Harlequins assistant coach to take over at Ospreys

Toby Booth
Toby Booth combined playing for Blackheath and Folkestone with being an electrician during his playing career

Ospreys have named former London Irish director of rugby Toby Booth as the new head coach on a three-year deal, starting in the summer of 2020.

The 50-year-old joined Harlequins as assistant coach in November 2019 after seven years as Bath's first-team coach.

"When the opportunity was presented to join such an iconic Welsh team it made it an extremely attractive proposition," said Booth.

Booth spent eight years with London Irish, four as director of rugby.

Between 2008 and 2012, he guided the Irish exiles to Premiership and Challenge Cup finals and three successive Heineken Cup qualifications.

"The Ospreys is a side full of rich talent and international experience, it is an ambitious group and has good potential to improve," he added.

A region of talent

"Having developed players throughout my career, I look forward to adding value to this squad of players and developing their performances on the pitch.

"This rich rugby region has always produced young talent. The ability to help players reach their potential was a contributing factor in wanting this role.

"A team that has high numbers of home-grown talent is exciting for coaches and supporters. It helps achieve greater levels of consistency in effort as they are emotionally connected to the team."

Ospreys had been seeking a long-term replacement for Allen Clarke, who left in December 2019.

In January 2020, Ospreys appointed ex-Wales coach Mike Ruddock as their new performance director until the end of the 2019-20 season, with part of his role to appoint a new coaching staff.

Ruddock initially joined as a consultant in December 2019 after Clarke was no longer in charge of first-team affairs at the region, while backs coach Matt Sherratt leaves at the end of the season to join Worcester.

Sherratt and forwards coach Carl Hogg have been in charge of first-team affairs since Clarke's departure.

Ruddock's recommendation

"Toby is a vastly experienced coach who has proven himself over many years in the English Premiership with London Irish, Bath and Harlequins," said Ruddock.

"He is an excellent communicator and an innovative coach. His track record of developing a high performance rugby programme impressed the interview panel and the senior players that met with him during the recruitment process.

"There were a number of outstanding candidates on our short list however Toby's ability to outline his impressive coaching philosophy and his rugby specific knowledge marked him out as a stand out coach.

"The Ospreys board would like to thank the WRU for their involvement and support for our recruitment process and we look forward to Toby taking charge next season."

Ospreys have won only two out of 18 matches this season and are bottom of Pro14 Conference A and suffered six defeats in the Heineken Champions Cup pool stage.

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