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Club announcement: Leigh Jones



Leicester Tigers can confirm that General Manager Leigh Jones will depart the club in the summer.

Jones joined Tigers in May 2021 from the Hong Kong Rugby Union, where served as National Coach Development Manager and Head Coach before leading the defence and breakdown for the Japanese national team at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. He then returned to Hong Kong as Head of High Performance before taking on the role as General Manager of Rugby.

Prior to his tenure at HKRU, he held senior coaching roles with Ebbw Vale, Newport, Newport Gwent Dragons and the Welsh Rugby Union senior team, including leading the Wales ‘A’ programme under Sir Graham Henry.

Jones was the first to hold the role of General Manager at the club, which included responsibility for the off-field performance of Leicester Tigers, including overseeing the Oval Park facility, operational processes and procedures at the training ground, and driving the cultural and performance standards at all levels of the rugby programme, including the academy and senior squads.

In his time at the club, the senior squad were crowned Gallagher Premiership Champions at the conclusion of his first season, reached the quarter-finals of the Heineken Champions Cup in successive campaigns and fell one game short of back-to-back Premiership Finals.

Meanwhile, the academy programme completed a third-place finish in this season’s Premiership Under-18 League.

Speaking about his time at the club, Jones said: “It has been an interesting and enjoyable two years, transitioning back to the UK from Hong Kong into, what was, a new format for me personally in a competition of the Premiership’s standing.”

“It’s been a pleasure and privilege to work with some great staff, players and coaches at Leicester Tigers, helping to establish what I now believe to be a truly integrated and harmonious training platform from which players and coaches can maximise potential.

“While the work that you do goes largely un-noticed, it proves very important in the daily running of the rugby platform in respect of both the ‘here and now’ and also having a keen eye on the future; introducing and maximising systems, structures and player pathways to safeguard the future of the club.

“It has been a great thrill to work closely with the coaching team, many of whom are world class operators, to advise, mentor and simply offer an opinion, when needed.

Speaking further on his tenure, he added: “The results over the two year period have been pleasing; the pinnacle, winning the Gallagher Premiership in 2022, while also reaching the knockout stages of the Premiership and European Champions Cup in two successive seasons.”

“It has also been particularly pleasing this season in how everyone pulled together following the departure of Steve [Borthwick] and Kevin [Sinfield]. Following the initial disruption, Richard Wigglesworth, Aled Walters and the coaching team have done a magnificent job in keeping things on course during what could have been a particularly hazardous period.”

“It has also been great to see a significant international representation through the age-grades, supplying seven players to England U20s for the recent Six Nations and forthcoming U20s World Championship. Because of the attention given to this specific group of players, I believe they are are now first team ready, and will be a great addition to the first team squad next year.

“I am confident Leicester Tigers is in a positive position moving into the future, having assembled a strong squad to compete in both the Premiership and European competitions, with an exciting squad including a host of world-class players and youngsters who are well prepared to make the step up.”

Looking ahead to his own future, Jones said: “I am going to take some time out for my family, including returning home to Wales, after which I will look for the next challenge to throw myself into and contribute to an organisation in the way I have enjoyed so much during this time at Leicester Tigers.”

Outgoing Leicester Tigers Interim Head Coach Richard Wigglesworth added: “Leigh has been a great source of knowledge and experience, as well as a great mentor and friend to me in my time at the club.”

“Firstly, while I was balancing playing and coaching and then, when I moved into the Head Coach role, even more so as a brilliant advisor during my first time in a role of this magnitude.

“The work of a General Manager is largely behind the scenes, ensuring that coaches and players are capable of doing the very best they can because of the thankless work that goes into all that is required and Leigh has done that, every day, of which cannot be spoken highly enough of by myself.

“I am so grateful for all that he has done for me, this club and wish him all the very best in whatever comes next, whoever is the lucky organisation to have him.”

Leicester Tigers CEO Andrea Pinchen added: “Leigh joined Leicester Tigers at a critical point in this club’s history and has, during the past two seasons, provided wonderful experience and guidance to what were a young coaching group and evolving playing squad.”

“In addition to his day-to-day roles, he has played a pivotal role in helping establish strong foundations for which Leicester Tigers can move forward into the future, confident of being competitive through his and his staff’s excellent work.

“I thank him for everything he has done and, on behalf of all at the club and wider Tigers Family, wish him the very best for what is to come.”

Content & Images from – Leicester Tigers Rugby


RFU Statement on London Irish



The RFU Club Financial Viability Group has agreed to give London Irish a one-week extended deadline to meet the original conditions as set out below and pay the remaining May payroll to staff and players.

1) a takeover of the club has been completed and approved by the RFU, with the buyers undertaking to provide all required working capital to meet the club’s obligations as they fall due for at least season 2023/24; or

2) the club evidences that it will continue to be funded to operate throughout the 2023/24 season. If the club fails to meet these conditions it will be suspended from participating in the Premiership (and other competitions) in season 2023/24 to avoid a scenario where the club enters insolvency mid-season, with the corresponding and substantial impact that has on players, staff, and fans, as well as on the remainder of the league.

The extension, until Tuesday 6 June, has been given following consultation with staff and players who asked for the deadline to be extended to allow them to be paid 50% of their salaries.

Paula Carter, RFU Board Member and Chair of the Club Financial Viability Working Group said; “It is deeply frustrating for all the staff, players and fans that there have been multiple missed deadlines. 

“We are extremely disappointed that the club has so far only funded 50% of the staff and player wages, however, we have to respect the wishes of those most affected.

“The 4pm deadline on 6 June is final and we have added the stipulation that the club must also fulfil its contractual obligations to its employees by paying the May salaries in full.”

Content & Images from – London Irish Rugby

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Coenie Oosthuizen to leave Sale Sharks



Springbok Coenie swapping Sharks for Sharks

Prop Coenie Oosthuizen leaving Sale Sharks to join South African side Cell C Sharks

Sale Sharks can confirm that prop Coenie Oosthuizen will leave the club to return to South African side Cell C Sharks.

The 34-year-old Springbok, who can play on either side of the scrum, arrived in Manchester in May 2019 from the Durban-based Super Rugby side.

He’s gone on to make 94 appearances for Sale, including 16 this season as Alex Sanderson’s men reached their first Premiership final in 17 years.

Coenie made his debut for the Springboks in 2012 and has since won 30 international caps.

Sharks Director of Rugby Alex Sanderson said: “Since he arrived in Manchester, Coenie has been a massive part of this team and this club and everyone is going to miss him.

“On the field he’s a fantastic player but off it, he’s been a real leader for us in what is a young squad.”

Everyone at Sale Sharks would like to thank Coenie for his contribution to the club and the team during his time here and we wish him all the very best for the future.

Images & Content from Sale Sharks Rugby

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Leicester Tigers 23/24 Coaching Team



Leicester Tigers can confirm the club’s senior coaching team ahead of the 2023/24 season.

Dan McKellar, who was announced as the club’s new Head Coach in February, will oversee the rugby programme and lead on the line out and forwards coaching.

Brett Deacon will lead on the breakdown and contact area, while also assisting McKellar with the forwards.

Deacon made 135 first-team appearances in two spells as a player with Tigers before joining the coaching staff upon retiring in 2015. After working with the club’s academy for two seasons, he joined the senior coaching team ahead of the 2016/17 campaign.

Matt Everard, who joined the club midway the 22/23 season as Senior Academy Coach before taking on a permanent senior role in December 2022, is the Defence Coach.

After representing Tigers, Wasps and Nottingham as a player, Everard moved into coaching with The Archers before returning to Wasps as Academy Coach and moved into the senior coaching team ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.

Alan Dickens, Dan Palmer and Ollie Richardson are the additions to the club ahead of the new season.

Dickens will take charge of the Attack & Backs, Palmer is the Scrum Coach and Richardson joins as Head of Physical Performance.

Read more on the appointments of the trio here:

Matt Smith will be the Skills Coach for the senior squad and take on the newly-created Lead Academy Coach role which sees him responsible for the Senior Academy Squad and transition of players from junior to senior rugby.

Smith made 228 appearances for Tigers before coaching the club’s academy side after retiring from playing in 2019, and joined the senior coaching team ahead of the 20/21 season.

Speaking about his coaching team, incoming Leicester Tigers Head Coach Dan McKellar said: “I am excited by the group we have put together, which has a great balance of continuity and new voices who will bring fresh ideas.”

“It was important to me that there was a mix of people who not only understand the Premiership, but vital that they understand Leicester Tigers and we have got that in Brett Deacon, Matt Everard and Matt Smith, as well as the majority of our performance staff who remain with the club.

“In addition, to have Alan Dickens and Ollie Richardson’s knowledge of the English game, players and competitions we compete in is of great value, and Dan Palmer’s expertise is very exciting for the club moving forward.

“What is most pleasing for me is that this coaching team are excited by the squad we have to work with from next season at Leicester Tigers, because of where they are at currently and work they have done but, importantly, how it can evolve.”

Leicester Tigers 23/24 Coaching Team

  • Dan McKellar, Head Coach
  • Brett Deacon, Assistant Coach
  • Alan Dickens, Attack & Backs Coach
  • Matt Everard, Defence Coach
  • Dan Palmer, Scrum Coach
  • Ollie Richardson, Head of Physical Performance
  • Matt Smith, Skills Coach & Lead Academy Coach

The club can also confirm that Richard Wilks has been appointed General Manager.

Wilks joined Tigers during the 20/21 campaign as a consultant before being appointed Head of Performance Recruitment in November 2021.

Discussing the appointments, Leicester Tigers CEO Andrea Pinchen said: “I believe we have put together a world class coaching team, headed up by Dan McKellar, to lead Leicester Tigers from next season into this exciting new chapter of the club’s history”

“A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to bring this impressive group who all offer their own unique skills, experience and knowledge from diverse backgrounds in the game.

“Most pleasing for me in this group is a shared desire to see this club continue to be successful but, even more so, strive to reach new heights together.

“After a turbulent year for all involved with Leicester Tigers, to be able to confirm our senior coaching team now is a great pleasure for me and I hope our supporters are as excited as I am about them leading this club into the future.”

The Leicester Tigers squad will commence pre-season training in July ahead of the 23/24 campaign.

Content & Images from – Leicester Tigers Rugby

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