Ford backs Hatley to join England

Date published: April 25 2016

BATH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 05:  Mike Ford, the Bath director of rugby looks on with  Neal Hatley during the Aviva Premiership match between Bath and Northampton Saints at the Recreation Ground on December 5, 2015 in Bath, England.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Bath forwards and defence coach Neal Hatley is believed to be the firm favourite set to join Eddie Jones’ coaching staff as the Australian seeks to appoint a permanent scrum specialist.

Hatley, a former London Irish prop, joined Bath head coach Mike Ford’s team in 2012 and has signed until 2019, after being part of the Exiles’ youth academy backroom staff.

The RFU have engaged in talks with Bath, but no confirmation or final confirmation of the any addition to Jones’ team has been made.

“There’s nothing sorted, they’ve just approached us,” Fold told the Western Daily Express.

“I’m pleased for Hats. Obviously, he’s been recognised for his work here over the last three or four years.

“Just like a player playing international rugby, he has ambitions as well.

“He’s a fantastic coach. The players love him, they really do.”

It is believed that Hatley is on top of Jones’ list of preferred candidates to fill this assistant role.

“Scrummaging is his forte, but he’s done the defence for us this year and the contact area as well.

“It would be a big loss for us if he left, but an opportunity for me to have a look at our coaching set-up and the roles and responsibilities in that.

“With every door that shuts, another one opens.”

Ford believes the 46-year-old Hatley has got what it takes to become a head coach.

“I think this will be his next step,” he said.

“He can go and win the World Cup with England if he needs to and then, if he wants to be a head coach from there on, it’s the perfect platform.”

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