Former England Saxons and Northampton Saints player Jon Clarke is the man Bury St Edmunds RUFC have chosen to take the club forward.
The new head coach, who also featured for his country at Under-19 and Under-20 level, will fill the void soon to be left by departing director of rugby Gavin Hogg.
Following the conclusion of his playing career, during which he scored 32 tries from 165 Premiership appearances for Saints, Clarke has managed Sheffield Hallam University and more recently been the backs coach at Rotherham Titans.
And — according to club chairman Mike Robinson — it is that vast level of experience that made the 33-year-old the ideal candidate to carry on Hogg’s impressive work, with the Northern Irishman set to leave the club at its highest ever standard in National League Two South.
“This appointment is a real coup for the club and follows a lot of work and research by our performance director Terry Sands,” said Robinson.
“As Jon has not only played at National and Premiership level throughout his playing career, his coaching experience is also excellent, joining us from Championship club Rotherham Titans.
“His appointment shows how serious we are as a club about reaching greater playing heights and securing top-class players and management to Bury.
“We have no doubt he will bring the commitment that he is so renowned for as a player and make a big impact at Bury.”
Clarke — also an ex Worcester Warriors player, for whom he produced a man-of-the match display on debut against London Irish in 2012 — is a full-time appointment at The GK IPA Haberden.
Speaking about his new role, Clarke was confident The Wolfpack will continue to progress under his watch.
“This is a massive opportunity for me to progress my coaching career in a head coach role at a club that has big aspirations to compete at a high level,” he said.
“I have no doubt we can achieve that.
“I took the decision to move from playing into coaching two years ago and have never looked back.
“I look forward to being a part of the Bury Rugby Club family.”
Bury also confirmed that they plan to bring in a part-time rugby director to work alongside Clarke in the near future.