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Leicester statement: The loss of Wigglesworth, Walters to England

By Liam Heagney
Leicester's Richard Wigglesworth (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Leicester have given their reaction to the latest destruction of their 2021/22 Gallagher Premiership title-winning staff, the RFU confirming on Tuesday that Richard Wigglesworth and Aled Walters will join Steve Borthwick and Kevin Sinfield with England at the end of the current 2022/23 season in time for the World Cup finals in France.


When it emerged in December that Borthwick, the Leicester boss when they defeated Saracens in last June’s Twickenham final, would succeed Eddie Jones as the England head coach, defence coach Sinfield also decided to exit Welford Road for a role as defence coach in the new Test-team management ticket.

Those two departures resulted in Wigglesworth immediately announcing his retirement as a player and becoming the interim head coach at Leicester until the end of the season. That position, though, won’t now become a permanent appointment as Wigglesworth has opted to take up an offer to join Borthwick with England as an assistant coach.

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He won’t be the only current Leicester staff on the move to RFU HQ as Walters, the Leicester head of physical performance, will become the fourth Tigers’ staff member from the 2021/22 title win to join up with England. Walters was a World Cup winner in 2019 with South Africa before joining Leicester in the summer of 2020 when Borthwick took over.

A club statement read: “Leicester Tigers interim head coach Richard Wigglesworth and head of physical performance Aled Walters will depart the club at the conclusion of the 2022/23 season. Wigglesworth and Walters will join the England rugby senior men’s coaching team.


“Wigglesworth joined Tigers as a player ahead of the 2020/21 season and made 43 appearances for the club, including starting in the 2021/22 Gallagher Premiership final win, before retiring midway through the current campaign when he was appointed to the interim head coach role. Walters joined the club in the summer of 2020 from the World Cup-winning South African coaching team after previous roles with Munster, ACT Brumbies and Scarlets.


“Leicester Tigers has identified a shortlist of replacements and is nearing the conclusion of the interview stage with candidates. The club will make no further comment on the process at this time.”

Leicester CEO Andrea Pinchen said: “Richard and Aled have been key figures at the club in recent seasons in very different ways and, while disappointed to be saying farewell to them at season’s end, thank them for their efforts on and off the field at Leicester Tigers. It has been a great privilege to have had both represent and be a part of Leicester Tigers.

“Their professionalism and leadership shone through when we were forced into changes to our coaching team halfway through a season and they took on more responsibilities, which we are grateful to both for and look forward to continuing to have as part of Leicester Tigers for the remainder of this campaign.

“In the same way that we want to see our players be as successful as possible and achieve accolades at all levels of the game, we want our coaches and staff to achieve this as well. The appointment of Leicester Tigers coaches to senior international roles is not only a testament to their hard work and ability but a great badge of honour for this club.


“We wish both of them all the best for the next chapter in their career and, as they have throughout their tenures at Tigers, know that they are fully committed to finishing their time with the club successfully.

“As we have stated before now, we began the process of identifying candidates for the Leicester Tigers head coach role at the beginning of the current campaign when we felt there was a chance Steve Borthwick would be targeted by the national side.

“That process has been ongoing for a number of months, from which we narrowed down to a shortlist and are nearing the end of the interview process with those candidates. We will be taking the time we feel necessary to get the best possible people in to lead Leicester Tigers from next season into the future.

“Leicester Tigers is not a club that is interested in having a transition period and are firmly focused on ensuring that this club has the very best coaching available to our players to deliver success on the pitch for our supporters, partners and community.”


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RUGBYPASS+ The major Six Nations concern for Wales and England ahead of RWC 2023 The major Six Nations concern for Wales and England ahead of RWC 2023