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Old friend of Steve Borthwick to become new general manager at Leicester

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Edward Wong/South China Morning Post via Getty Images)

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The Steve Borthwick evolution of Leicester has continued with the recruitment of Welshman Leigh Jones to the Gallagher Premiership club in the newly-created role of general manager of rugby. The current general manager of rugby performance with the Hong Kong Rugby Union will begin his work with Tigers on May 1.

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Having held senior coaching roles with Ebbw Vale, Dragons and the Welsh Rugby Union, including leading the Wales A programme under Graham Henry, Jones became a senior member of the Japanese support team at the 2015 World Cup alongside now-England head coach Eddie Jones and Leicester boss Borthwick.

With director of rugby Geordan Murphy having left Leicester before the start of the current season and Jan McGinity have recently exited his head of elite performance recruitment, there was room for Tigers to manoeuvre.

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What the set-up at the Leicester academy was like when RugbyPass went behind the scenes at Oval Park

This newly-created role for Jones will now see him work alongside Borthwick on the development of the current coaching and performance team and playing squad, as well as the recruitment of coaches, performance staff and players at Leicester in line with the new-look recruitment and development structure, pathway and process.

He will also be responsible for the off-field performance of Leicester, including overseeing the Oval Park facility, and have responsibility for the operational processes and procedures at the training ground, and drive the cultural and performance standards at all levels of the rugby programme, including the academy and senior squads.

Jones said: “The opportunity to assume the general manager role with an organisation like Leicester does not come along often and was one that I could not turn down. I’m eager to take on this challenge and thankful for the encouragement I have received from present and former players, staff and board members at the Hong Kong Rugby Union.

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“I have seen a lot of very good, young, bright coaches come through and Steve is one of the best I have worked with,” he added about the prospect of working again with Borthwick at Leicester. “He is innovative, good on his feet, has a tremendous work ethic and has a good connection with the players.

“What has resonated with me is that there is a real common cause and goal among people at the club to get Leicester back to the top. There is a clear understanding with everyone and it starts with the development and recruitment of the right people and hopefully I’ll put another piece in what is a very important jigsaw at Tigers.”

Leicester CEO Andrea Pinchen said: “Leigh is a world-class, experienced operator. In the new role, Leigh will oversee the entire rugby programme’s operations, with a big-picture view as to where this club wants and needs to get to, and for which Steve, Aled (Walters) and the entire coaching team and performance staff have worked hard to build the foundations since July 1 of last year.

“As well as driving world-class standards in our operations and overseeing the processes at the club, Leigh will be a key member of the senior leadership team at Leicester to ensure we uphold the standards expected of everybody at this club and we are very confident in his ability to do that, as well as being excited about what he will bring to this role.

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“Working with Steve and understanding his vision for the team, Leigh will manage the development and recruitment process, which is critical in helping to deliver the standard of on-field performance our season ticket holders, supporters and the entire Tigers community expect.

“The process of recruiting Leigh was one we have worked diligently and patiently on to ensure we found the very best person for the job. The foundations are coming together for this new-look Leicester Tigers.

“Our journey is underway and we are starting to see positive signs on and off the field, so to be able to further add strength with an appointment of someone of Leigh’s calibre is a promising one for everybody in the Tigers community to be excited about.”

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Old friend of Steve Borthwick to become new general manager at Leicester

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