Matt O’Connor departs as Leicester Tigers coach

Matt O'Connor

Leicester Tigers have announced the departure of head coach Matt O’Connor with immediate effect, after just one round of the Gallagher Premiership season.

Assistant coach Geordan Murphy, an eight-time Premiership title winner and double European champion in 16 years as a player at Tigers, will take charge of team affairs on an interim basis.

O’Connor began his second spell at the club in the closing rounds of the 2016/17 season and guided Tigers into the Premiership semi-finals at the end of that campaign before a fifth-place finish the following year.

Leicester Tigers club chairman Peter Tom CBE said: “Matt was appointed head coach in April 2017 on the basis of his previous Premiership experience and his knowledge of the club. But we believe the time is right to make this change in the best interests of the Tigers moving forward.

“We would like to thank Matt for his hard work and commitment to the club in two spells at Welford Road, and we wish him and his family well for the future.”

Former Tigers captain Murphy will assume control of team affairs immediately alongside coaches Mark Bakewell, Boris Stankovich and Brett Deacon.

Chairman Peter Tom added: “As a club, Leicester Tigers will always aspire to challenge for major honours in the incredibly competitive arena of professional elite club rugby and everyone at the club will fully support Geordan and the management group in driving the team forward.

“Geordan knows the expectations and ambitions of the Tigers as well as anyone after more than 20 years here as player and coach, and we wish him and the team the very best for the challenges ahead.”

What do you think of this decision by the Tigers?

7 thoughts on “Matt O’Connor departs as Leicester Tigers coach

  1. Starting to set a bit of a precedent, that’s three top job departures (was Mauger sacked?) in under two years. At what point do candidates start to view that as a job that they wouldn’t want to take on?

    Don’t know the Tigers set up particularly well but are they missing a Director of Rugby, only having a Head Coach doesn’t seem to have had much success so far? Are senior management too impatient and not letting the new head coach put their spin on things?

  2. Like Cockerill, he’s just a scapegoat for the board.

    Fifteen years ago we had the best stadium, the best facilities, the biggest support, the best youth system, and the most intact heritage and identity out of most clubs in the world. Simon Cohen et al have allowed all of these advantages to be lost, and run the club into the ground.

    1. Tigers have no forwards its that simple. I suspect Aaron Mauger influence has messed this team up. Tigers have spent their money on backs under Mauger and nothing left for big name forwards. Cole and Genge are decent but thats it. Can see tigers getting 6th-8th this season as outside the usual big 3 Gloucester will definitely pass them, probably Bath and perhaps Newcastle and Northampton. It will take several years for Tigers to re-establish their forwards.

      1. Might be a bit harsh on Denton! But I think the sentiment is fair. the pack was always Tigers strength and it doesn’t look that strong now.

        1. Denton is ok but he is not world class. Tigers 8 Kalamaphoneyhomey is ok as well but same thing.

          When you compare their forwards to Sarries, Exeter there is daylight, in a serious game with all on the line tigers would get smashed. Full circle and very ironic.

          1. Are Cole and Genge world class? Bit worried about Cole’s form bearing in mind that I would like him to be playing well in 12 months time! Most Glos fans were disappointed when Kalamafoni left for Tigers, but I don’t think that he would get near our starting back row at the moment, which is more a reflection of how Glos have moved on than on him to be fair.

            Of course there is an element of schadenfreude as far as Johnny May’s departure from the club is concerned, when he forced a departure citing more stable coaching as his main reason for leaving………
            Having said that, I still wish him well, and would have him back at Kingsholm tomorrow, but I just can’t help that wry grin!

  3. Seems bizarre really. Did he know that he was on the way out which is why pre season was half baked? Was he waiting for the board to sack him, while the board were waiting for him to resign, so it was a waiting game. Just speaks of real problems behind the scenes. As a Glos supporter, been there and done that, but now basking in a solid Owner, CEO, Director of rugby and Head coach relationship. Hope Tigers can get back there as they are one of the mainstays of English rugby.


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