Leicester Tigers have snapped up a recent World Cup winner, adding Aled Walters to Geordan Murphy’s staff as their new head of physical performance. The Welshman carved out a niche for himself at Munster where he initially encountered Rassie Erasmus, who then brought the assistant with him to South Africa to play a major role in formulating the plan than led the Springboks to RWC victory last November in Japan.
South Africa Rugby announced on Tuesday that Walters would be leaving for family reasons and his destination has now been revealed, Leicester emerging as his new place of work in a career that included stints at Scarlets, Taranaki and the Brumbies before he went to Ireland in 2012. Speaking to the Leicester Tigers website following his appointment, Walters said: “I grew up a staunch Scarlets fan and have a lot of history with Leicester. I was there when the famous Tim Stimpson penalty went over.
“You have to fit the culture and I definitely appreciate that. That’s why teams like Leicester are more attractive to me. Leicester is a very similar club to Munster and Scarlets – it’s a working-class area, they’re tougher people and that’s something that definitely appealed to me… I don’t take leaving a World Cup team lightly. It’s a very similar challenge to a couple of years ago when I was approached to join the South African team who were playing below par.
“I see this as a similar scenario, and what I know first-hand is that things can change, but it takes a lot of hard work and only happens if everyone buys into it. The challenge wouldn’t be as attractive if I didn’t believe there were things in place to turn things around and get the job done… it’s an attractive proposition to work with world-class athletes and there is plenty at Leicester.”
Murphy, who is set to become director of rugby when Steve Borthwick arrives as head coach, added: “The addition of someone of Aled’s experience and knowledge is a significant signing for Leicester. Aled’s addition alongside Steve is key to what we are doing. It’s a game-changer for us at Tigers.”
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now