Former Leicester Tigers head coach Richard Cockerill will join Edinburgh Rugby from the start of next season after agreeing a deal to replace current temporary boss Duncan Hodge.
The 46-year-old Cockerill will continue in his role as a consultant at Toulon until the end of the season, having crossed the Channel to join Mike Ford’s set-up on the south coast of France shortly after he was sacked by Leicester at the start of the year.
Cockerill will take up the head coach position, with Hodge remaining at Edinburgh as he will revert to his former role as backs coach under Cockerill’s tenure. Hodge has stepped up to acting head coach following Alan Solomons’ departure at the start of the season, with the South African choosing to step down in September last year after two disappointing Pro12 campaigns.
After holding discussions with Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson and director of rugby Scott Johnson, Cockerill admitted that it was the “potential” within the club that excited him and led to the acceptance of the offer.
“I am very much looking forward to a new challenge and the opportunity at Edinburgh Rugby ticked all the boxes,” the 27 time-capped England hooker said.
“It’s a real rugby city, and the club has a lot of potential to grow on, and off, the pitch.
“The conversations I had with Mark Dodson and Scott Johnson were instrumental in understanding what the vision for Edinburgh Rugby is and it is a project I’m excited to be a part of.
“I’m also relishing the chance of coaching in the Guinness PRO12, which is a new league for me, and working with a clearly talented group of players.”
Cockerill adds considerable experience and a high pedigree to the Edinburgh set-up, having won the Premiership title three times in 2009, 2010 and 2013. He also has experience in Edinburgh, having led the Tigers to the 2009 Heineken Cup final in the Scottish capital, though suffered a narrow 19-16 defeat by Leinster.
His dismissal from Leicester came somewhat as a surprise, given that he had successfully led the club since 2005 after making more than 250 appearances for the Welford Road outfit during his playing career, and despite not topping the Aviva Premiership table since the 2010/11 season, under Cockerill Leicester has secured a play-off berth in each of Cockerill’s 11 full seasons as head coach.
Dodson added: “I am very pleased to have secured Richard’s services given how highly sought after he was from leading clubs across Europe.
“As a highly experienced, winning coach we targeted him and worked hard to ensure his talents could be secured for the benefit of Edinburgh Rugby.
“I believe his appointment clearly demonstrates our commitment to developing and maintaining success at our professional clubs in Scotland.