Gloucester Rugby are delighted to announce that Barny Allen will step up to the role of Head of Strength and Conditioning following the announcement that Mark Bitcon is to join Wigan Warriors later this month.
Allen, now in his fifth season with Gloucester, is currently second in command to Bitcon having previously worked under Mike Anthony in the fitness department.
His expertise is widely recognised and Allen is currently with the England squad as they prepare for the Autumn international series through an arrangement that sees him released to the national team when they are in camp.
Head Coach Bryan Redpath confirmed today:
"Bittaz has done a great job at Gloucester and we'll be sorry to lose him, but we can understand his reasons for wanting to go to Wigan and wish him all the best in his new role."
"Barny has impressed us over a number of seasons and has a wealth of experience having worked under two of the leading experts in the field of strength and conditioning, in Mark Bitcon and prior to that Mike Anthony."
"He has his own ideas about how to help us drive the group forward and we'll give him the right support to achieve this."
"Barny has also been gaining experience at international level with England for some time now so we feel that it's exactly the right time in his personal development for him to be given the opportunity to show us he can lead the strength and conditioning department on a long term basis."
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.
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 39-16 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).