GLOUCESTER defence coach and former Ireland centre/wing Jonny Bell will join Glasgow Warriors as attack coach for next season, replacing Jason O’Halloran, who announced last week that he is returning to his native New Zealand.
Bell will work under current Scotland forwards coach Danny Wilson, who is being shifted to the Warriors head coach job to replace Dave Rennie in the summer, and alongside current assistant coaches Kenny Murray, John Dalziel and Petrus du Plessis.
The 45-year-old has been with English Premiership side Gloucester since 2015, focussing mainly on defence, and helped them finish third last season. He had a spell as interim head coach of the Kingsholm outfit during the 2016-17 campaign. Bell previously coach at his home province at Ulster from 2011 to 2015.
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As a player, he earned 36 caps for Ireland and represented his country at two Rugby World Cups and the 1997 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Hong Kong. He played 96 times for Ulster and the pinnacle of his club playing career came in 1999, when he was named man of the match in Ulster’s Heineken Cup Final victory over Colomiers at Lansdowne Road.
“I’m thrilled and excited to be joining Glasgow Warriors next season,” said Bell. “It is a club I know well from my time with Ulster and they are blessed with a talented, hard working playing group and excellent coaches. I look forward to adding considerable value to this great environment.
“As an experienced coach, I have worked both sides of the ball throughout my career and I’ve had head coach experience with Gloucester. The opportunity to carry on the great work of Jason (O’Halloran) and Dave (Rennie) in attack was too good to turn down.
“Danny is a coach I have known and respected for a number of years now. He has a proven track record of getting the best out of his players and staff and when we sat down to discuss the role, it was quickly evident that we were very aligned in our philosophy on the game.
“That is next season. From now until the end of this season, I remain totally focused and committed to giving my best to a great playing and coaching group at Gloucester, as we aspire for success this season.”
Wilson welcomed the appointment. “Once we learned that Jason O’Halloran was returning home, Jonny was the top of the list of coaches we wanted to bring to Glasgow,” he said. “We know we’re getting a knowledgeable, well-rounded coach who is vastly experienced coaching both sides of the ball.
“Jonny also has extensive experience in the PRO14, English Premiership and European Cup and we’re looking forward to him joining us next summer.”