Bitcon to head up Gloucester Rugby’s fitness team

Gloucester Rugby have announced that Mark Bitcon will be joining the club as Head of Strength and Conditioning.

The 29 year-old, who is currently head of elite strength and conditioning for Scottish Rugby, has a wealth of experience in the club and international game, having previously worked for London Wasps, Glasgow Warriors, and most recently the Scotland team.

Bitcon takes over at Gloucester from Mike Anthony, the former All Blacks conditioner, who is returning home next month to take up the role of high performance sports science manager for the New Zealand Rugby Union.

Dean Ryan, head coach of Gloucester Rugby, said: “Firstly I want to give enormous thanks to Mike Anthony, who joined Gloucester from the All Blacks four years ago and has been instrumental in helping to create the professional training environment we have today.

“The results of his work with the squad have been striking, not least with Gloucester finishing top of the Premiership in the regular season for the last two years, which is a measure of the conditioning level he has achieved with the players. We wish Mike and his family every success and happiness on their return home as they will be sorely missed.”

“The opportunity to bring on board somebody of Mark’s calibre couldn’t be ignored. His impact on the strength and power of the Scotland team has been obvious to everybody in the rugby community, and I’m really excited about how he will challenge and motivate the Gloucester squad.”

Bitcon added: “I’d like to thank everybody at the Scottish Rugby for their great support and hard work over the last three years. I would particularly like to thank Frank and all the national management team for making my time at Scottish Rugby so enjoyable. I believe the Scotland squad are in tremendous shape and can look forward to the new season with great optimism.

“There aren’t many jobs in rugby that I would have considered moving for, but the chance to get back to the week-to-week pressures of club rugby for a side like Gloucester who aim to be challenging at the highest levels in Europe was too good to turn down. I can’t wait to get stuck into the players next month.”

Meanwhile, Frank Hadden, Scotland’s Head Coach, said: “We are obviously disappointed to be losing Mark however we recognise that this is a great opportunity for him to further develop his career.

“Mark has played a significant role at Scottish Rugby and his contribution to the preparation of the national team has been considerable. We wish him every success with his new role.”

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