EDINBURGH have recruited Gareth Baber, who was head coach of the Fiji Sevens team which won gold at the Tokyo Olympics earlier this year, as their new skills and assistant attack coach, with 49-year-old due to srtat work in the capital on 1st December.
Having studied at both Swansea University and Oxford University, Baber played scrum-half and wing for Cardiff RFC, Pontypridd RFC, Aberavon RFC, Bristol and Dragons, before switching his focus to coaching in 2007.
He has had spells as an assistant coach of the Wales Under-20s team, working in the Cardiff Blues Academy and as co-head coach of the region, before being appointed Head of Hong Kong Rugby Sevens in 2013, where he directed the senior men’s, women’s and youth programmes.
Baber became Fiji Sevens head coach in 2016 and led the side to 11 tournament victories – beating the previous record of nine set by Ben Ryan – picking up the 2018-19 World Rugby Sevens Series title and that Olympic gold along the way. It was announced yesterday that he has declined the offer of a contract from the Pacific Islanders.
“I am very much looking forward to the challenges and opportunities which come with my new coaching role with Edinburgh,” said Baber. “I am extremely grateful to Mike [Blair] and the Edinburgh backroom team for the faith they have shown in my recruitment and I’m determined to repay this.
“The prospect of joining an innovative and knowledgeable coaching staff at a top European team, which has in its ranks some of the best rugby talent in world rugby, excites me enormously. I look forward to adding value to the group, utilising my own rugby knowledge and coaching experiences.
“Having played and coached against Edinburgh during my career, I am aware of what the team represents and the depth of passion felt in the city for the success of the team.
“It is a great opportunity to challenge myself in an established professional environment, where I recognise that I will need to be at the top of my coaching abilities.
“I look forward to establishing new relationships and will work tirelessly to honour the opportunity which has been presented to me.”
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Head coach Mike Blair added: “I’m really looking forward to working with Gareth. He’ll be a welcome addition to our coaching group.
“Gareth’s reputation for being a forward-thinking and dynamic coach will be hugely important as we look to continually develop our attacking philosophy in the seasons to come.
“I’ve got no doubt Gareth will hit the ground running once he links up with our group in December and our squad will benefit massively from his coaching and expertise.”
Edinburgh Rugby Managing Director Douglas Struth said: “We’re absolutely delighted to welcome Gareth to the club. He’s an Olympic Gold medal winner and brings with him a wealth of experience and coaching pedigree that will only add to our already dynamic and talented coaching group.
“Gareth’s record on the World Rugby Sevens Series speaks for itself while, in his role as Fiji Sevens Head Coach, he has worked with some of world rugby’s most talented and gifted players.
“Those experiences will bring an exciting style to our attacking philosophy – something our coaching staff will no doubt embrace from the get-go. We’re really looking forward to welcoming Gareth to Edinburgh Rugby this December.”