Former All Black Aaron Mauger set to leave Leicester TigersSave
By Alex McLeod
Former All Black Aaron Mauger is set to be replaced as Leicester Tigers head coach by former Queensland Reds interim head coach Matt O'Connor.
The 46-year-old, who made one test appearance for the Wallabies in 1994 against Ireland, will return to the 15-time English champions, where he served as head coach between 2010 and 2013.
"We are delighted that Matt O'Connor has accepted an offer to return to Welford Road," Leicester Tigers club chairman Peter Tom CBE said in a statement on the club's website.
"The club has conducted an exhaustive search to find who we feel is the right person to take the team forward and this brought up the names of a number of potentially very good coaches. One of the most significant factors in our deliberations was experience of the Premiership and what it takes to win the competition."
It is not yet clear the reason for Mauger's departure from the club, with Leicester enjoying a reasonable degree of success so far this season.
The Tigers only just won the Anglo-Welsh Cup final yesterday, beating the Exeter Chiefs 16-12 at the Twickenham Stoop in London, while they remain very much in title contention in the Aviva Premiership, currently sitting in fifth place on 47 points, one point behind fourth-placed Bath with five games remaining in the regular season.
Perhaps Mauger's only downfall this season was Leicester's failure to qualify from their pool in the European Champions Cup, finishing third in Pool A behind Munster and Glasgow.
The former 46-test five-eighth will take charge of his final game for Leicester in their match against the Northampton Saints at Franklin's Gardens this weekend.
"We thank Aaron for his commitment to the club over the last two seasons as head coach and especially in his time in interim charge of team affairs in recent months," club chairman Tom said.
"We wish him well for the future."
O'Connor will leave his current position as Tonga's assistant coach to begin his second tenure at Welford Road early next month, subject to visa.