Friday 28 April 2017

O'Connor aiming to rebuild Tigers legacy

Leicester Tigers head coach Matt O'Connor. Photo: Getty Images
Leicester Tigers head coach Matt O'Connor. Photo: Getty Images

Matt O'Connor insists it was not a difficult decision to return to Leicester Tigers as head coach.

The departures of Richard Cockerill and Aaron Mauger have seen O'Connor back in charge at Welford Road, where he won three Premiership titles during his first spell between 2008 and 2013.

The 46-year-old has since been head coach at Leinster - a stint which included a league title success and a European Champions Cup semi-final appearance. He is now looking forward to the challenge of trying to get Leicester into the play-offs and thinks many things remain in place from his last stint.

"I've nothing but fond memories of the five years we spent here previously and I'm really looking forward to starting that legacy up again," said O'Connor.

"It certainly wasn't a tough decision. The club has got a special place in my heart. Once Cockers finished up, there was an opportunity to have a conversation with the club and it progressed from there.

"Key elements of the organisation and the club are still there. A lot of really strong relationships that I had with that organisation are still here in relation to the back room and the coaching group and a lot of the playing staff. So it was a no-brainer for me to come back.

"We thoroughly enjoyed our time in England and to be a part of one of the most successful rugby clubs in the world again was a fantastic opportunity."

O'Connor oversaw the narrow defeat to Bath at Twickenham at the weekend but his first game in full charge is on Saturday at home to Newcastle Falcons.

The Australian has been dealt a blow ahead of that game with the news that Matt Toomua will probably not play again this season.

Irish Independent

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