Leicester appoint Matt O'Connor as their new head coach

Last Updated March 20 2017, 19:15Rugby Union

Leicester have announced the Welford Road return of Australian Matt O'Connor as their head coach.

O'Connor is set to begin work early next month, subject to a visa, with current head coach Aaron Mauger leaving the Tigers after next Saturday's Aviva Premiership clash against Northampton.

The 46-year-old worked at Leicester between 2008 and 2013, initially as backs coach and then head coach. During that period, the Tigers won three Premiership titles.

After leaving Leicester, O'Connor became head coach at Leinster, a spell that included league title success and a European Champions Cup semi-final appearance.

Mauger, meanwhile, took control of Leicester's coaching team after Richard Cockerill departed as rugby director earlier this season.

But he now exits Welford Road as the Tigers, who won the Anglo-Welsh Cup on Sunday, continue their Premiership title play-off push.

Leicester chairman Peter Tom said: "The club have conducted an exhaustive search to find who we feel is the right person to take the team forward.

"And this brought up the names of a number of potentially very good coaches.

"One of the most significant factors in our deliberations was experience of the Premiership and what it takes to win the competition.

"Matt has that experience as head coach during a successful period which brought three league titles, an Anglo-Welsh Cup and the club's most recent appearance in the European Cup final.

"The team also topped the try-scoring figures in the Premiership four times in that five-year period with Matt in charge of the attack."

Tom, meanwhile, offered the club's thanks to former All Blacks centre Mauger.

"While preparing to welcome Matt, we are also disappointed to lose Aaron," he added.

"Matt's strengths are in his work with players on the training pitch, and we are making changes to our organisational structure to enable him to focus solely on the success of the team.

"We thank Aaron for his commitment to the club over the last two seasons as head coach, and especially in his time in interim charge of team affairs in recent months. We wish him well for the future."

Leicester club captain Tom Youngs said: "Matt has a good record in the Premiership and had a lot of success in his previous spell here. We look forward to working with him again when he arrives next month.

"At the same time, it is disappointing that Aaron is leaving the club.

"He is a good man and a good rugby man who has worked very hard as head coach over the last couple of seasons, and goes with our best wishes."

Leicester are currently fifth in the Premiership, one point behind Bath with five regular-season games remaining.


Racing Tips

One Minute

Friday's racing preview

Chris Wilson provides a selection for every race on Friday, with One Minute set to confirm the impression she made at York for trainer William Haggas.

Fighting Temeraire

Value Bet: Fighting chance

Ben Linfoot's Value Bet column has been in fine form in recent weeks and he has four selections for Saturday's action at Ripon, Newbury and Newmarket.

Librisa Breeze can win at Newbury

Simon Holt: Hungry for Breeze

Racing commentator Simon Holt is backing Librisa Breeze in Saturday's Hungerford Stakes at Newbury.

Next Race Off
10:00 Pune
4
(1)
We Break The Rules
J: P S Chouhan
7
(8)
Emotionless
J: Amyn Merchant
2
(5)
Orion's Belt
J: Dashrath Singh

Football Tips

Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino

Premier League betting tips

Our tipster David John says Southampton can turn on the style against West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday.

Reading players celebrate

Sky Bet EFL betting tips

Our Nick Hext makes Reading his best bet in the Sky Bet EFL this weekend.

Betting Zone: Tipping record

A look at how the Sporting Life recommended bets have performed.