Fitness coach Mark Bitcon is to join the Scotland management team as part of its further strengthening in World Cup year.
Bitcon joins head coach Frank Hadden, coaches George Graham (forwards) and Alan Tait (defence), analyst Gavin Scott and manager Guy Richardson.
Frank Hadden explained: “Mark has played a key role in the improving fortunes of the Scotland team. He is highly regarded by the players. At the end of this season’s Bank of Scotland Corporate Autumn Tests we conducted a review and concluded that to continue to progress we need to bolster our National Management Team, to ensure that our preparations for the World Cup are as good as they can possibly be.
“Fitness, strength and conditioning are vital components in elite rugby and in World Cup year Mark, working in tandem with National Fitness Co-ordinator Ken MacEwan, will prepare our players.”
Bitcon, who joined Glasgow Rugby in the summer of 2004 from London Wasps, has worked with the national management team part-time since May 2005, doubling up that role with his Glasgow duties.
Glasgow Warriors’ assistant fitness coach Gary Sheriff will take the lead on their fitness coaching. Warriors’ head coach Sean Lineen said: “Gary is stepping up and Mark’s expertise will remain available to us as he will be working with our players in the national squad. Mark has brought a vast amount to Glasgow and Scottish Rugby and his appointment is a boost for our World Cup preparations.”
Wigan born Bitcon, 28, has previously worked in a number of sporting fields including spending some time with American Football team Tampa Bay in Florida. His undergraduate study was in Sports Science at Lancaster University (St Martin’s College) before his postgraduate MSc in Sports Physiology at Liverpool John Moores University.