A year after opting to transition from a senior team role under Paul Gustard to take over as academy coach, long-serving Mark Mapletoft is to now leave the club at the end of the 2019/20 season. After nine years with the senior team serving as backs coach, attack coach and head coach, Mapletoft decided in 2019 to step away from the first-team environment to concentrate on pathway development and coach education. The departure of Tony Diprose, the club’s then academy and global development director, created an opening in the Quins set-up that Mapletoft successfully secured, but he will now exit the Stoop less than twelve months later. 

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“The 2011/12 Premiership final will always stand as the highlight of my time with Harlequins. To see such a talented side lift the trophy against opposition as tough as Leicester Tigers was a special moment,” said Mapletoft in a club statement. “It’s been a privilege to work with genuine Harlequins legends over the years and the squad from that final will always hold a special place in my heart.”

When taking on the academy role, Mapletoft said a year ago: “I’m passionate about the whole coaching spectrum and this is a great opportunity for me to develop my skills and knowledge in another area.

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“Player development is central to that and this presents the opportunity for me to continue developing our Harlequins academy as well as our elite performance pathway. The impact this area has on our sustainable success is massive and I’m really looking forward to working with the academy team to ensure the production line remains strong. 

“Paul (Gustard) has done a fantastic job in his first season and I know we have the ability and mindset to challenge for honours this year.”

Harlequins were seventh in the Gallagher Premiership and through to the Premiership Cup final when the 2019/20 season was indefinitely suspended in March due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Commenting on Mapletoft’s departure, Harlequins general manager Billy Millard said: “Mark has been a key part of Harlequins’ DNA for a decade. It’s no coincidence the club achieved some of its most notable silverware during his time with Quins. From the first XV to our current academy set-up, Mark has had a real and lasting impact.”

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