Murphy quits as Tigers boss with year left on contract

London (AFP) –


Geordan Murphy has left his role as Leicester director of rugby with immediate effect despite there being a year left on his contract, the fallen English Premiership giants announced Friday.

The former Ireland full-back's exit, which the Tigers said was by mutual consent, ends a 23-year association with the club he first joined as a player in 1997.

Leicester added the decision was made after discussions over Murphy's current contract and comes shortly after a 2019/20 season where they finished a lowly 11th and were spared relegation from the top flight only by Saracens' salary cap breaches.

Steve Borthwick, the ex-England captain and former assistant to Red Rose boss Eddie Jones, will continue as Leicester's head coach, with the post of director of rugby to be replaced by a role that oversees the "strategic vision and off-field responsibilities at Oval Park".

"I have spent 23 great years at Leicester Tigers and forged great friendships with people throughout that entire period," Murphy said.

"Winning has been the easy part. It is when things are not going well, when you are losing and having to get back up every day and put on a brave face, that you know who your friends are and, to all of those who supported me through those times, those are the friends I will have for life," added Murphy as he wished the club "the very best for the future" and thanked fans for their support.

Murphy, who won 72 Ireland caps, made 322 appearances in 16 seasons including four years as club captain, while winning eight Premiership and two European titles with East Midlands club Leicester.

He was also dubbed the "George Best of rugby" by former Leicester coach Dean Richards, who compared his array of on-field skill to that of the Manchester United and Northern Ireland football great.

But success as a coach proved more elusive for Murphy, with the 42-year-old's rise through the backroom ranks at Welford Road ultimately coinciding with a decline in Leicester's fortunes.

"This decision, while difficult, was made to ensure we are as effective and successful an organisation as we can be at Leicester," said chairman Peter Tom.

"We are determined to see this club back at the top, where supporters expect us to be, competing for trophies and are fully behind the players, coaches and staff on this journey."