O'Connor to return as Leicester coach

O'Connor was sacked by Leinster in 2015.                     Image Gary Carr  INPHO

O'Connor was sacked by Leinster in 2015. Image Gary Carr INPHO

Former Leinster head coach and Australia rugby global Matt O'Connor will once again take charge at English Premiership side Leicester Tigers.

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

Leicester beat Exeter Chiefs 16-12 in the Anglo-Welsh Cup final last weekend to claim their first silverware in four years, but they've struggled domestically this season and failed to progress from the pool stages of the European Champions Cup.

"While preparing to welcome Matt, we are also disappointed to lose Aaron", Leicester chairman Peter Tom said in a statement.

Leicester's former director of rugby, Richard Cockerill, was sacked in January and Mauger admitted then he had "fundamental differences" with the club following Cockerill's departure, report the Guardian.

The 46-year-old was with the Tigers from 2008 to 2013, first as backs coach then as head coach in a period when they won three Premiership titles.

He won the Pro12 in 2014 after moving to Leinster but was sacked at the end of his second season in charge there, becoming a member of the Queensland Reds and Tonga coaching staff, including a period serving as interim head coach of the Super Rugby team. "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. He is set to begin work early next month, subject to a visa, with Aaron Mauger 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'.

Mauger, the current head coach, will leave the club after this weekend's Premiership fixture against Northampton Saints.

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