By Tom Jenkins
Mike Ruddock insists Toby Booth convinced the Ospreys players he was the man to take the region out of its desperate slump.
The current Harlequins assistant coach will take in charge at the Liberty Stadium for the start of the 2020/21 season after their long search for a replacement to sacked Allen Clarke came to an end.
Ruddock – hired as performance director earlier this season – has revealed that senior Ospreys players were involved in the assessment process and gave their thumbs-up that Booth was the man for the job.
“There were a number of outstanding candidates on our short-list,” said former Wales coach Ruddock.
“However, Toby’s ability to outline his impressive coaching philosophy and his rugby-specific knowledge marked him out as a stand-out coach.”
“His track record of developing a high-performance rugby programme impressed the interview panel and the senior players that met with him during the recruitment process.
“Toby is a vastly-experienced coach who has proven himself over many years in the English Premiership with London Irish, Bath and Harlequins. He is an excellent communicator and an innovative coach.”
Booth started his coaching career with London Irish as assistant academy manager in 2002 and later went on to become the head coach of the side. He moved to Bath in 2012 and after seven years as first-team coach with the Recreation Ground outfit, he joined Harlequins as an assistant coach in November 2019.
“The Ospreys is a side full of rich talent and international experience. It is an ambitious group and has good potential to improve,” Booth told the Ospreys’ website.
“Having developed players throughout my career, I look forward to adding value to this squad of players and developing their performances on the pitch.
“This rich rugby region has always produced young talent. The ability to help players reach their potential was a contributing factor in wanting this role.”
The Ospreys have managed just two wins from 12 games in the Guinness Pro 14 so far this season, while they lost all six games in the Heineken Champions Cup.