Blackett rewarded by Wasps for impressing as interim coach

London (AFP) –


Lee Blackett has been appointed head coach on a permanent basis of Premiership side Wasps after impressing in his interim role following the departure of long-time boss Dai Young, the club announced on Thursday.

Blackett had stepped up in February from being attack and backs coach having been part of Young's backroom staff since arriving from Rotherham Titans in 2015.

The club experienced a resurgence in form under the 37-year-old's stewardship winning three of their four matches to shoot up the table from 10th to fifth.

At the time of the suspension of the Premiership campaign on March 16 due to the coronavirus pandemic they were just two points off the play-off places.

"Since taking over as interim head coach in February, Lee's impact has been extremely positive," said Wasps chief executive Stephen Vaughan in a club statement.

"The results on the pitch speak for themselves and he fully deserves the opportunity to lead the group."

Blackett said he was looking forward to restoring Wasps as a title challenger.

"The last few months have been fantastic, and I can't thank the coaches, players, staff and supporters enough for the support they've given me," he said.

Joining Blackett on the coaching staff are the experienced Pete Atkinson as head of performance -- once his contractual obligations are finished with Italy -- and Richard Blaze replaces the departing Andy Titterrell as forwards coach.

Young, a former Wales and British & Irish Lion prop, had been in charge since 2011 but little had gone right since the club lost to Exeter in the 2017 Premiership final.

Young's position had become increasingly untenable as the club suffered an alarming loss of form and by the time he left had won just 13 of their previous 47 fixtures.

One of the factors in the tailing off of their results was a haemorrhaging of talent.

Experienced players like Danny Cipriani and James Haskell along with England star Elliott Daly and foreign imports Willie Le Roux and Kurtley Beale all left in recent years.