Gloucester Rugby's new look coaching team ahead of the 2014-15 season is taking shape with the news today that John Muggleton and Nick Walshe are joining the club.
Muggleton will be taking on the role of Defence Coach. The 54 year old is a former Australian Rugby League international, part of the 1982 touring team which became known as 'The Invincibles' when it won all 22 games on its tour of England and France.
Once his playing career was over, Sydney born Muggleton moved into coaching and was Defence Coach with the Wallabies for 10 years. His time in post covered the Rugby World Cup triumph in 1999 and a series victory over the British and Irish Lions.
A two year stint with the Scarlets was followed by a spell coaching Georgia at Rugby World 2011, before taking on the role of Defence Coach with the Melbourne Rebels from 2011 to 2013.
Regarded worldwide as one of rugby union's finest defensive minds, Muggleton will now bring his considerable experience to work with Gloucester.
Joining Muggleton at Kingsholm will be Nick Walshe as the club's new Backs & Attack Coach. The 39 year old former scrum half enjoyed a lengthy playing career, but has most recently caught the eye as the coach of the England U20s side.
Under his leadership, the England U20s side lifted the IRB Junior World Championship title for the very first time in 2013, then successfully defended their championship last week in New Zealand.
Walshe possesses considerable knowledge of the Premiership having represented Harlequins, Saracens, Sale, Bath and Bedford as well as earning international recognition with England.
He embarked upon his coaching career at Bedford as a player/ backs coach and subsequently joined the RFU Elite Rugby Department as Interim Head Coach of the England U20s
Announcing the appointments today, CEO Stephen Vaughan confirmed that he's delighted with how things are shaping up ahead of the new season.
"I'm delighted that John and Nick are joining us as we prepare for the forthcoming season and we're very much looking forward to them starting in post shortly.
"I make no apology for the fact that we've taken our time with these appointments, but we wanted to make sure that we got absolutely the right individuals in place and that can take time.
"John possesses a wealth of defensive knowhow. He's got a ton of experience at the very highest level and we're delighted to have someone of his calibre on board.
"And Nick Walshe is one of the brightest young coaching talents around. What he's achieved with the England U20s in the past couple of years has been magnificent. A number of our players have already worked with him over the past few seasons of course as part of that set up.
"They've been playing a great brand of rugby, and we're delighted that he'll now be working with our back line, which has the potential to be amongst the very best in the game.
"There are obviously still other appointments to be made, but we're making real progress and hope to be able to make some further announcements soon. I'm delighted with how things are shaping up."
Speaking to the local media this week, Richard Hibbard expressed his excitement ahead of the West Country derby and that there is an extra spring in the step of the Cherry and Whites ahead of the tough challenge.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
On a tough evening at Kingsholm, Gloucester could escape neither a suffocating Bath defence, nor the whistle of referee Greg Garner as six penalties and a penalty try paved the way to a 39-14 win for the visitors.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).