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Wells becomes head coach; Howard and Cockerill Return

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City Fan

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Leicester Tigers today unveiled their new coaching structure, which sees John Wells formally handed the role of head coach, with former Tigers duo Pat Howard and Richard Cockerill returning as backs coach and assistant forwards coach respectively.

Club chairman Peter Tom said: “On behalf of the board of directors I am delighted to confirm John’s appointment as head coach. He has been extremely impressive in that role during the last three months, and with the return of Pat and Richard we now have a coaching structure in place to take the club forward.

“Chief Executive Peter Wheeler will be the director responsible for rugby, and he will continue to chair the playing group, dealing with key strategic issues.”

Commenting on the new coaching structure, Wheeler said: “When we decided to make the change back in February, we all said it was important to look at the whole playing and coaching structure.

“We have learnt from what’s happened in the past, evaluated our strengths and weaknesses, and from that the playing group decided on the correct structure to take us forward. We then looked for the right person who was able to add to what we already have here at Leicester, so that we can become successful again.

“It was important that we visited and met with all the relevant people in the rugby world who appeared to fit our criteria. Because we’ve been through that process I am now confident that we’ve made the right decision.”

Commenting on his own role, Wheeler added: “My job is to see that this new structure works, so that John and Pat can focus on their key responsibilities, knowing that all the support they need is in place. I will also be putting in place a new long term recruitment strategy.”

Head coach Wells said: “I am delighted to have my position confirmed. There has been a lot of tooing and froing and speculation over the last three months, but I have been extremely pleased with the way that the team has performed.

“I’ve been at the same club for 23 years. I’m proud to have been associated with an organisation that has always aspired to be the very best.”

Both Howard and Cockerill join the club from French side Montferrand, with the former England player combining his duties with a playing role, while ex-Wallaby Howard returns purely in a coaching capacity.

The 30-year-old Howard made 94 outings as a centre for Tigers between 1998 and 2001, scoring ten tries, while 33-year-old Cockerill racked up 257 appearances during his ten-year spell as hooker.

Speaking on his arrival at the club, Howard said: “It’s an interesting position, and a good transition out of the playing side of things.”

Cockerill, like Howard still a firm favourite on the Welford Road terraces, said of his own return: “I’ve had a fantastic two years at Montferrand, and a I hope I can be a positive influence at Leicester now.

“I still feel I’ve got a bit of playing time left in me, but I will also assist the forward coaching and be the forwards coach for the development team, so hopefully I can help the younger players bridge the gap from the Academy into the first team.

“The club has always had a very proud tradition, and I feel strongly about that.”

Tigers captain Martin Johnson welcomed the return of former team-mates Howard and Cockerill to the club, saying: “I’m very excited to have them both back.

“Pat brings a wealth of experience to the backs, while Cockers will have picked up a valuable insight into forward play from his time in France, which I’m sure will be useful to our pack.”

Tigers flanker Neil Back echoed Johnson’s sentiments in heralding the acquisition of the pair, emphasising that his own role at the club remains principally as a player, while he will continue to take the defensive sessions.

“It’s great that Pat’s back, as he was liked by all the fans and kept a close relationship with a lot of the guys here even after he left,” he said.

“As for Cockers, he’s exactly the sort of guy we need here. He’s been away, experienced a different environment, and hopefully will have picked up a few things to help the club.

“I’m still around mainly as a player, but I’ll continue handle the defensive sessions, which I’ve been doing for a while and also used to do for England when Phil Larder was away.”

Back’s message to the Tigers supporters, who had been anxious for news of the new coaching set-up for some time, is that the waiting game has paid off.

“A lot of people put themselves forward and said they had the best interests of the club at heart, and it would have been easy to just pick one of them,” he said.

“But what we’ve done in waiting is the right thing. We’ve made a clear selection which is right for Leicester Tigers, and getting guys like Pat and Cockers in gives us a different vision.”
 

buzzer_b

New Member
Ashov said:
Lets hope Tigers can get back to there best next season
The only really reason they played crap last year was because half the players where at the world cup. Tigers will lift the title next season!
 
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