Mike Ford will take on a different role at Leicester next season following the recruitment of Rob Taylor as attack coach. The Tigers have struggled for points this season, their tally of 207 in 13 Gallagher Premiership outings just five points more scored than Worcester’s meagre 202. 

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With Steve Borthwick soon to arrive at Welford Road as head coach and Geordan Murphy moving up to become director of rugby, there is the mood for a big change at the club. Twenty-one players were confirmed departures on Monday at the end of the season and after announcing earlier on Wednesday the capture of Springboks World Cup-winning assistant Aled Walters as head of athletic performance, the Tigers have further stirred the pot with the recruitment of the unheralded Taylor.

Former Bath boss Ford – the father of England and Leicester out-half George – initially linked up with Murphy during last season’s scramble to avoid Premiership relegation. Following a review headed by Pat Howard, the ex-England and Ireland assistant then took on the attack coach brief for 2019/20. However, he will now switch to defence, the area of expertise where he initially made his name in rugby union after he moved across from rugby league to link up with Eddie O’Sullivan’s Ireland in 2002. 

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Re-elected World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont guests on the latest edition of The Rugby Pod

Taylor, meanwhile, joins from Sydney University in Australia where he has won four Premiership titles in his four seasons at the Shute Shield club in both their colts and senior programmes. He was also the head coach for the NSW Country Eagles in Australia’s National Rugby Championship, but it was in his native New Zealand where he first made waves, coaching Auckland University before moving on to Mitre 10 Cup level with the Auckland province. 

Having grown up in Wellington, he moved to England to work with Ernst & Young and helped establish the John Macphail scholarship with the Scottish Rugby Union which has provided opportunities for young players and coaches from Scotland to play and coach abroad since 2005. Recipients of this grant have included John Barclay, Finn Russell and Chris Paterson.

“It was a big honour to get a call from Leicester Tigers,” said Taylor to the Leicester Tigers website. “Every rugby person knows who Leicester Tigers are and what they have achieved in their history. It’s a very exciting prospect with the roster Tigers have.

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“It’s a privilege to get this chance to work with the likes of the players at Leicester already and the high-quality players coming in like Matt Scott and Nemani Nadolo. I’m really looking forward to it. However, I am also really passionate about the younger guys at the club and how they come through to the first team.”

With the addition of Taylor and Walters alongside the incoming Borthwick, Murphy feels the balance is now right at Tigers. “It’s a new-look group for us next season,” he said. “With Mike Ford moving into defence where he has worked at the highest levels in the game, and the additions in Steve, Rob and Aled all adding their own unique skills and experience, we feel we are a much better and balanced group to take the club forward.”

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