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stepped in and Charteris was prevented from playing against the Springboks in Washington DC and he was subsequently withdrawn from the tour.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