Mauger to stake claim for Tigers job after Cockerill sacking

Interim boss Aaron Mauger will stake the first claim to Leicester’s vacant director of rugby role after Richard Cockerill’s sacking.

Leicester dismissed Cockerill on Monday and put head coach Mauger in “interim charge” amid a full-scale review of their coaching setup.

The Tigers have dropped out of the Aviva Premiership playoff places after consecutive defeats to Exeter and Saracens that closely followed the record 38-0 European loss at Munster.

Former England boss Stuart Lancaster and ex-South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer will go straight into the running to become Cockerill’s long-term replacement, but Mauger will take charge of Sunday’s Premiership clash at Wasps.

“Tigers head coach Aaron Mauger will be in interim charge of team affairs working with coaches Richard Blaze and Geordan Murphy and the existing support staff,” read Leicester’s statement.

“The board will also conduct a review of the coaching structure to determine an appropriate way forward.”

Leicester’s patchy form led to the departure of defence coach Scott Hansen in October, with Cockerill since having battled for his own future.

Cockerill bought himself some time when Leicester edged out Munster 18-16 at Welford Road on Dec. 17, just one week after the record 38-0 Champions Cup mauling at Thomond Park.

But the 16-12 home loss to Saracens on New Year’s Day proved the final straw for Leicester’s board, who moved quickly to sack long-serving boss Cockerill.

Lancaster has hit back from the 2015 World Cup failure by impressing in a senior coach’s role at Leinster this term. The former Leeds coach has already insisted he remains keen on staying in Dublin past the end of the season, when his current contract expires.

Former South Africa boss Meyer has been out of work since relinquishing his Springboks post after the 2015 World Cup, but remains well regarded at Leicester after a short-lived stint in the East Midlands in 2008 that only ended due to a family illness.

Former England and Leicester hooker Cockerill joined the Tigers’ coaching staff in 2004, progressing to the rugby director role in 2010, guiding the Welford Road outfit to the 2013 Premiership title.

“I still believe that I am the right person to lead the team at this present time but respect the board’s decision to make the change as they see fit in the best interests of the club,” Cockerill said.

“I arrived back at the club in 2004 as an academy coach and leave as director of rugby with a record that speaks for itself and stands up against any in club rugby in the world.”

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