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EXCLUSIVE: Leicester Tigers line up Dave Ellis as defence coach candidate

LEICESTER TIGERS started interviewing for a defence coach at the end of last week with Dave Ellis, the former France defence guru, among a stellar list of candidates.

The Tigers have conceded 39 tries in their opening nine Premiership games – more than any other team in the competition – and are currently lying in eighth position in the table.

Yorkshireman Ellis became defence coach for the France national side in 2000, a role he held for 11 years.

During that time he won the Six Nations five times (including three Grand Slams) and helped mastermind France’s famous victory over New Zealand in the 2007 Rugby World Cup quarter finals as well as reaching the Rugby World Cup final four years later in New Zealand. He was also part of the All Blacks coaching team that out-played Clive Woodward’s Lions in 2005.

Since leaving the France national team, Ellis has held posts at Lyon in the Top 14 as well as consultancy roles with the likes of Tonga and Rotherham Titans. He is currently based in the Midlands as head coach of Midlands 2 West South club, Kenilworth.

Ellis began his career in rugby league, making over 700 appearances for clubs such as Castleford Tigers, Doncaster, Keighley Cougars and Brisbane and is believed to be vying for the coveted Tigers post alongside two greats of the 13-man code, Denis Betts and Brad Davis.

Betts has previous rugby union coaching experience with Gloucester and spent a couple of days with Harlequins in pre-season after losing his job as head coach of Widnes in May this year.

Australian Davis, another highly decorated rugby league player in his day, has the most experience in coaching top-level English club rugby having spent sevens years as defence coach at Bath and three at Wasps before joining Ospreys in 2016.

The 50-year-old was heavily linked with the England defence coach role when Paul Gustard left for Harlequins earlier this year.

Leicester Tigers announced on Tuesday the appointment of Geordan Murphy as head coach.

JON NEWCOMBE

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