- • Tigers have lost eight games on the bounce
- •‘We are working hard to improve performances and results
Geordan Murphy has been appointed as Leicester’s permanent head coach despite a run of eight straight defeats that has left the Tigers at “their lowest ebb”, according to the former Ireland full-back.
Murphy, who has spent 21 years at Leicester as a player and coach, was handed the role on an interim basis when Matt O’Connor was sacked after the first game of the season but has managed four wins from his 15 matches in charge.
The Tigers are all but out of Europe after Sunday’s home defeat by Racing 92and are three points from the bottom of the Premiership, but the Leicester hierarchy is determined to avoid another overhaul, having sacked Richard Cockerill, Aaron Mauger and O’Connor in the past 24 months and finalised the decision to appoint Murphy permanently at Monday’s board meeting.
“We’ve had a challenging start to the season and we are working hard to improve performances and results, but this is also the start of a journey for this coaching team and playing group,” said Murphy.
Leicester are also closing in on a new defence coach, having conceded 292 points in the Premiership this season – the worst in the league – and a further 121 in Europe. Dave Ellis, who worked with France at the 2011 World Cup, and Mike Ford have been linked to the role. “We are looking at how and what we can add to the coaching team in terms of experience and quality,” Murphy said. “It has to be the right fit for the team.”
Leicester’s decline has been evident since 2013 – the last time they reached the Premiership final – while Saracens have replaced them as top dogs in England. The Saracens director of rugby, Mark McCall, has applauded Leicester’s decision to seek continuity. “One of the mistakes Saracens made in a previous era was to chop and change,” said McCall. “One of things we’ve done better over the last 10 years is to have some continuity. It builds relationships.”
Meanwhile, London Irish will play their home games at the new Brentford Community Stadium from 2020. The Championship leaders have reached an agreement with Brentford FC to play at the stadium in west London, which is currently under construction and will have a capacity of 17,250. Irish have played at Reading’s Madejski Stadium for the past 18 years.