Former Dragons favourite Gareth Baber exits Blues
FORMER Newport Gwent Dragons scrum half Gareth Baber is to leave his job as Cardiff Blues’ attack/backs coach to take up a head coach position overseas, believed to be in Hong Kong.
The 41-year-old parts company with the region at the end of the year having spent the last seven seasons with them since retiring from playing in 2007.
Baber, who played for Cardiff, Llanelli, Aberavon, Bristol, Pontypridd, as well as the Dragons, previously worked as assistant coach with Wales Under-20s and coached the Wales sevens side.
Blues director of rugby Phil Davies, whose side suffered a shock 30-25 defeat to Zebre at home on Friday, praised his work.
"Gareth has been a fantastic servant to the Blues over the years,” he said.
“He has come from the Academy set-up, after Dai Young gave him a chance, and I've always valued his work ethic and professionalism, which is second to none.
"His enthusiasm for the game really is fantastic and he has a thirst for knowledge and to develop and get better. I know he will give everything over his remaining time with us.
"Gareth now has a wonderful opportunity, alongside his family, to go and work overseas and he will go with our very best wishes at the end of the year.”
Baber will stay at Cardiff Arms Park until the end of 2013 and paid tribute to the side's supporters.
He said: "I would like to thank everyone concerned with the Cardiff Blues, players and staff, but also pay a specific thanks to the fantastic fans who have gone through all the changes with the region and showed unwavering support.
"I started here as an Academy coach and have come through the Blues system into the senior environment and I would like to thank Peter Thomas and the board as well as Dai Young, Justin Burnell and Phil Davies for their roles in developing my skills over the last seven years here.
"Opportunities like the overseas role I will be taking up do not come along very often and I see it as a progression for me in terms of the job specification. It's a good challenge to add to my skills as a coach and I thank Cardiff Blues for their understanding and support with this.”
Two former Dragons coaches work in the Chinese region – Dai Rees is the Hong Kong Rugby Football Union’s head of performance and coaching, while Leigh Jones is their national coach development manager.
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