Gary Gold in final stages of creating global scouting network for Bath
Bath are in the final stages of finalising a global network of scouts which will enable the club to recruit undiscovered talent from both traditional and non-traditional quarters.
Head coach Gary Gold is setting the bar high for his backroom staff as he seeks to assemble the best recruitment mechanisms in the English game, insisting that no stone can be left unturned.
While reluctant to spell out the particulars of his new scouting model, Gold said both the Championship and the Armed Forces would be closely monitored, with players from overseas domestic competitions also being put under the microscope.
Gold has recruited eclectically since arriving at the club over the summer. Army outside back Semesa Rokoduguni has been plucked from obscurity and handed a one-season deal, while Argentina international Horacio Agulla joined the club on a two-year contract.
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Young loose forward Nick Koster was signed from Gold’s former club Western Province last month, while Brett Sharman has been drafted in on a short-term injury-cover deal after being cast into the cold by former club Northampton.
Bath are also understood to have recruited Munster academy prop Alan Cotter as cover while Paul James and Davey Wilson are away with Wales and England respectively during the autumn internationals.
Explaining his aspiration to forge one of the best club scouting systems in the game, Gold said: “We want to be looking in nooks and crannies before anyone else has. To be blunt, we want to be working that bit harder than everyone else.
“We are in the process of putting in a couple of key deals in place with scouts around the country and, for that matter, around the world.”
While Gold and his coaching team will be keeping a close eye on overseas prospects, the majority of their attentions will be on English-qualified players.
“There is the Championship, the Currie Cup – there are lots of different avenues to look at,” said Gold. “Your planning has to be very precise.
“But, first and foremost, we are an English club and we would like English-qualified players to come here.
“We want to play a part in helping to develop the English game.”
The Rugby Football Union offers financial rewards to clubs which field high numbers of English-qualified players, with restrictions placed on how many overseas players can appear on the pitch at any one time.
Indeed, Koster is English-qualified courtesy of the ancestry on one side of his family.
Gold’s early steps into recruitment at Bath have already reaped the club a dividend, with Fijian back Rokoduguni receiving the man of the match award on his debut against the Dragons on Saturday.
“Roko was so good on trial it was a no-brainer,” explained Gold. “A lot of other clubs were interested in him.
“We will absolutely be keeping an eye on other players from the Services.”
Meanwhile, Bath have rugby league second-rower Luke Adamson on loan from Salford Reds, as well as Bridgend prop Ken Dowding.
Adamson replaced the fit-again Matt Banahan for the final 20 minutes of the Dragons match, with Dowding also making a cameo off the bench.