The legendary Leicester, England and Lions No.8 became the most successful Tigers coach of the professional era winning four Premiership titles and a Heineken Cup double in 2001 and 2002. However, after two seasons without silverware and a pool round exit in Europe his tenure was terminated by the Leicester board.
Wells played in the Tigers backrow more than 360 times, captaining the side from 1991-93. He played in the back row alongside Dean Richards, and when Richards departed in 2004, Wells took over as head coach until the end of 2005 when he was replaced by Pat Howard.
The former Wallaby Test centre and fly-half guided Tigers to the Premiership and EDF Energy Cup finals in 2007, winning the domestic double. They also made the final of the Heineken Cup but were denied a historic treble after losing to Wasps 25-9.
Howard left Welford Road to return home and is currently the general manager, team performance for the Australian cricket team.
The former Argentine centre and coach was sacked as head coach at Leicester after just one season at the club. Despite reaching two finals – EDF Energy and Premiership – he was dismissed after they lost both. Leicester only just reached the Premiership play-offs and barely qualified for the Heineken Cup. He was succeeded at Leicester by South African Heyneke Meyer in late June 2008.
Meyer offered his resignation after six months and 17 matches to return to South Africa because both his wife’s parents had been diagnosed with terminal illnesses. Richard Cockerill continued to head the coaching team, supported by Matt O’Connor and Paul Burke.
Cockerill guided Leicester to the Premiership title with a 10-9 win over London Irish in the final in his first season. A week later they lost in the final of the Heineken Cup 19-16 to Leinster in Edinburgh. In the 2009–10 season Cockerill led the Tigers to a second Premiership title with a win over Saracens at Twickenham, and in 2013 he took them to a third English title by beating Northampton. A less productive run followed and in January 2017 he was sacked after a home loss to Saracens. Four days later, he joined the coaching staff at French Top 14 team Toulon. Cockerill is now head coach of Edinburgh.
The former All Black who played centre for the Tigers took over when Richard Cockerill was sacked. Leicester lost their first three games under Mauger, and then won three of their next eight. He was sacked after only three months and replaced by O’Connor.
O’Connor had a win ratio of 50 per cent, the lowest of all the recent coaches. He joined Tigers as backline coach under Heyneke Meyer. Under Cockerill he won Premiership honours in 2009 and 2010. Cockerill was promoted to director of rugby and O’Connor appointed head coach in July 2010 and he was influential in the Tigers’ 2013 Premiership win. He signed as Leinster’s head coach in 2013 wining the Pro12 title in his first season before being sacked the following season after failing to achieve a play-off spot in the PRO12 and losing the semi-final of the Champions Cup. In March 2017, he replaced Mauger as Tigers’ director of rugby.
By James Coffey
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