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Cheika linked to Bath role

Former Leinster boss Michael Cheika is one of two contenders to become head coach of Aviva Premiership club Bath after rugby director Ian McGeechan announced he will leave his post at the end of the season.

The Australian, who led Leinster to their first Heineken Cup success in 2009, and South African Gary Gold are believed to be favoured candidates; Nick Mallett, who was recently beaten to the role of England boss by Stuart Lancaster, is not being considered.

McGeechan's exit, which coincides with the end of a two-year contract, will spark a coaching reshuffle.

Bath say they are making "good progress" in identifying a head coach, claiming a new structure and coaches will be agreed and in place during the summer in readiness for next season.

McGeechan (65) initially joined Bath as performance director. He held previous coaching roles with Northampton and Wasps, and is synonymous with the Lions, having headed up four tours.

Bath chief executive Nick Blofeld said: "We would like to thank 'Geech' for his time with the club and for his assistance in developing the culture at the club through this transitional period. An announcement regarding a new head coach will be made in due course."

Gold has previous Premiership experience with London Irish and is currently in temporary charge of relegation favourites Newcastle, while Cheika is at French club Stade Francais.

Irish Independent