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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 March 2006, 07:55 GMT
Foley to leave Bath for Australia
Mike Foley
Foley formed a formidable team with Connolly at Bath
Bath forwards coach Michael Foley will leave the club at the end of the season after being named assistant coach of the Australian national team.

The 38-year-old has signed a three-year deal and will team up again with former Bath boss John Connolly, who took over as Australia coach last year.

"I've worked with John as a player and recently as a coach and we complement each other well," said Foley.

Foley will join Australia in time for the game with England on 10 June.

The former hooker, who was in Australia's World Cup-winning squad in 1999, admitted he was sad to leave the club but said the offer of returning home to work with Connolly was too good to miss.

Connolly took over from Eddie Jones after Australia's worst losing streak in more than 30 years but Foley, who joined Bath in 2001 as assistant to Jon Callard, believes there are signs of recovery in the national game.

Michael is a very good young coach with plenty of experience and technical knowledge
Australia coach John Connolly

"The Wallaby forwards came under plenty of scrutiny last year but already in Super 14 we've seen players and packs improve remarkably," said Foley, who won 50 international caps.

"That's not to say there isn't room for further improvement but the early signs are pleasing.

"This is certainly a great opportunity and a challenge I'm extremely excited about."

Connolly said he was looking forward to having Foley as part of his coaching team.

"Michael is a very good young coach with plenty of experience and technical knowledge," Connolly added.

"He has a strong vision for how we want to play the game and how we need to move forward this season, as well as looking ahead to the World Cup next year.

"He will be a huge asset to the Wallabies and Australian Rugby, and it will be great to see him return home to take up this challenge."

Bath chief executive Bob Calleja added: "Michael has asked to be released from his contract next season in order to take up a coaching appointment for Australia Rugby and this request has been granted.

"The process to appoint Foley's successor is well under way."




SEE ALSO
Connolly's parting message
01 Dec 05 |  Six Nations
Connolly to stay longer at Bath
26 Feb 05 |  English
Coach Connolly to quit Bath post
12 Jan 05 |  English


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