Bath & Wiltshire Romans have moved swiftly to replace player/coach Tom Howley, who has moved to Nottingham for work reasons.
Official Chris Chatten said: “After a successful founding and debut season, the Romans were keen to appoint an experienced Head Coach. The club are keen to maintain and improve the professionalism in coaching standards, targeting similar success on the pitch in 2016 to 2015 when the club won the West of England Challenge Cup, West Of England League, West of England Grand Final, along with West of England 9s finalists and being semi-finalists of the national Harry Jepson Trophy going down to eventual winners South West London Chargers.
“With this in mind the club has appointed the experienced John Fatiaki as Head Coach. John has recruited Matthew Tatman as Strength and Conditioning Coach and they will be assisted by Paul Riley and Rob Cryer.
John Fatiaki has previously played and represented the Royal Corps of Signals at both Rugby Union and League but unfortunately his playing career ended in 2010 due to a major knee injury.
John is predominantly from a Rugby Union background and is currently Head Coach of Blandford Town RFC. Strength and Conditioning Coach Matthew Tatman is a level 1 Power Lifting Coach and competed in the Army Power Lifting Championships in 2015, looking to compete again in 2016. Matthew is a Physical Training Instructor trainee leading physical training sessions at Colerne Army camp and is very knowledgeable and experience in the strength and conditioning arena.
Assistant Coach Paul Riley was inspirational as a player in the Romans debut and founding season in 2015, and acted as captain for a number of fixtures. Paul is also currently assistant coach of the Royal Artillery and previously played for the Royal Artillery and British Army Rugby League sides for a number of years.
Incidentally, Paul was talked out of retirement by ex-Romans coach Tom Howley. Paul has good memories of playing for the Army in the Rugby League Challenge Cup against professional sides such as Oldham and Featherstone Rovers in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
Assistant Coach Rob Cryer has played Rugby League all his life and is from the northern heartlands, Castleford to be specific (playing for Castleford Panthers and Townville Tigers before moving south), but at the age of 23 he took the bold move to venture to the South West which was at the time very much a developmental area for Rugby League, to go to University, and played in the new `University of the West of England’ side.
Rob has good memories of coaching university sides with Arron Simms and soon became Head Coach of the University of Bath Broncos Rugby League side, and also assisted with coaching at the Romans in 2015.
Rob said: “I am looking forward to the new season and working with the newly formed coaching team.”