Dave Ward
Dave Ward had been combining his coaching role at Ampthill with playing since joining in 2019

Bristol Bears Women have appointed former Harlequins and Bath hooker Dave Ward as their new head coach for the 2021-22 Premier 15s season.

The 35-year-old, who has played almost 300 professional games, joins from Championship side Ampthill where he had been forwards coach since 2019.

Ward succeeds Kim Oliver, who left the role at the end of January.

The Bears are eighth in the Premier 15s table, with coaches Amber Reed and Tom Lindsay in change on an interim basis.

“The opportunity to come back to my hometown of Bristol is something I’m really looking forward to,” Ward told the Bristol website.external-link

“I’m extremely excited to get to work with the quality players and staff that Bristol Bears have in their high-performance environment. The ambition of the club is there for all to see and that is to be competing at the top end of the Allianz Premier 15s table.”

Having begun his career with Barth, Ward had spells at Northampton and Sale before dropping into the Championship with Cornish Pirates in 2009.

He made more than 100 appearances for the Penzance-based club before leaving for Harlequins in 2012, where he stayed for seven years, playing 167 games.

“Dave was the standout candidate and his experience of professional environments, as well as his development as a young coach in the Championship, impressed us,” said chief executive Mark Tainton.

“We believe that Dave has the knowledge and attitude to drive the programme forward and help to build a high-performance, successful environment for Bears Women.”

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