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Ford dumped from rugby's Bath

Press AssociationPress Association 17/05/2016

AP - English rugby club Bath have sacked coach Mike Ford after a disappointing season where they finished ninth in the Aviva Premiership.

He leaves the club just a year after leading them to their first Premiership final since 2004.

But a trying 2015-16 campaign saw them miss out on qualification for next season's Champions Cup, a failure which prompted the Bath board to act.

Ford joined Bath as first-team coach in 2012 and has been head coach for the past three seasons.

He acknowledged a major rebuilding job was in store at the Recreation Ground after his side's final-day win over Leicester earlier this month.

Five squad members from that impressive victory - Dom Day, Ollie Devoto, Horacio Agulla, Rob Webber and Jonathan Evans - are set to leave the club, leaving Ford's successor facing a significant task ahead.

Things started to unravel for Ford and Bath when they lost big-money NRL recruit Sam Burgess at the end of last season with two years remaining on his contract.

Code-hopper Burgess failed to make an impact in rugby after his much-hyped switch and his departure sparked an angry response from Ford, who claimed Burgess "didn't have the stomach to see out his contract" with Bath.

Burgess' 12-month stint in rugby ended with an underwhelming showing for England at the Rugby World Cup before he returned to South Sydney in the NRL.

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