Char­teris to hang up his boots and go into coach­ing


WELSH in­ter­na­tional Luke Char­teris is set to re­tire this sum­mer and be­come part of Bath’s new-look coach­ing team, ac­cord­ing to re­ports.

A lit­tle un­der 10 months ago the 6ft 9in lock from Llan­deilo was very much in Warren Gat­land’s ‘thoughts’ for the World Cup in Ja­pan later this year.

So much so, he was brought back from a year in the in­ter­na­tional wilder­ness for the 2018 three­Test sum­mer tour games with the Spring­boks and Ar­gentina.

But Premier­ship Rugby stepped in and Char­teris was pre­vented from play­ing against the Spring­boks in Wash­ing­ton DC and he was sub­se­quently with­drawn from the tour.

Gat­land said of his pro­lific driving maul wrecker at the time: “He is a player we have dis­cussed and not been in­volved for a while now. He has never been out of our thoughts in terms of a World Cup spot.

“We wanted to send a mes­sage that he is still in our thoughts.

“He has not played a lot of rugby and not been in­volved at all. We wanted to give him this chance and as­sess where he was and put him in a po­si­tion hope­fully with World Cup se­lec­tion.”

But Char­teris, who was born in Corn­wall but grew up in Llan­deilo, failed to earn a call-up to Gat­land’s au­tumn squad and the 39-strong party named for the Six Na­tions Grand Slam and is now set to call time on a ca­reer that’s taken in 74 caps and spells with the Drag­ons, Per­pig­nan, Rac­ing 92 and Bath.

And it’s at The Rec that Char­teris is set to take his first steps into coach­ing with the 36-year-old being lined up to work un­der the next di­rec­tor of rugby, Stu­art Hooper, with a brief to de­velop a top-class line-out.

That facet of Bath’s game has been the club’s Achilles heel, with the West Coun­try giants bot­tom of the Gal­lagher Premier­ship ta­ble for tries scored from a driving line-out.

Char­teris is a mas­ter at wreck­ing line-out drives and op­po­si­tion put-ins, with his part in spoil­ing Eng­land’s set-piece in the fi­nal few sec­onds of their 2015 Rugby World Cup clash with Eng­land at Twick­en­ham writ­ten into Welsh folk­lore.

And the Bath Chron­i­cle re­ports that im­prov­ing that area of the game will be a key fo­cus for next sea­son and Char­teris will work on both at­tack and de­fence.

Bath are set to lose their di­rec­tor of rugby this sum­mer af­ter New Zealan­der Todd Black­ad­der ac­cepted a job to be­come head coach at Toshiba Brave Lu­pus in Ja­pan.

The fi­nal make-up of the se­nior coach­ing team is ex­pected to be an­nounced be­fore the end of the cam­paign, with Char­teris set to be named as part of the set-up

He’s been work­ing to­wards his level three RFU coach­ing badge and is ex­pected to com­plete the qual­i­fi­ca­tion this sum­mer and has also been work­ing with the Univer­sity of Bath rugby team.

His on-field lead­er­ship at Bath meant when Char­teris wasn’t side­lined through con­cus­sion or leg in­jury is­sues he was of­ten named cap­tain.

And it’s thought that to fur­ther his coach­ing ed­u­ca­tion Bath are poised to send the sec­ond row to Su­per Rugby fran­chises, in­clud­ing the Cru­saders, to broaden his knowledge ahead of pre-sea­son train­ing for the 2019-20 cam­paign.

He said of his fu­ture back in Jan­uary: “I’m just trying to en­joy this year. Whether it’s my last one or there’s another one, I’m not sure yet.

“We’ll see how the body is and the de­ci­sion will be made on that a bit later on. Bath have looked af­ter me very well in terms of what I do in the week. I have to re­alise I’m slightly older than some of the boys.

“I’m do­ing my level three coach­ing now, which is good,” he said.

“I’ve been do­ing stuff with schools, the uni, our de­vel­op­ment path­way, just get­ting as much ex­pe­ri­ence as I can.”

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