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Former Wallaby Pat Howard is returning toEnglish Premiership club Leicester as backs coach as part of a management shake-up which sees interim boss John Wells installed permanently as headcoach.

Another former Tigers player, ex-England international RichardCockerill, is also rejoining the club, as assistant forwards coach.

Wells was appointed as interim coach after Dean Richards wassacked in February.

His appointment on a permanent basis follows the failure ofLeicester's attempts to lure South African Nick Mallett away from Stade Francais.

Wells said he was delighted that the uncertainty overhis future had been ended. "There has been a lot of too-ing and froing and speculationover the last three months, but I have been extremely pleased with the way that theteam has performed.

"I've been at the same club for 23 years. I'm proud to havebeen associated with an organisation that has always aspired to be the verybest."

Both Howard and Cockerill join the club from French sideMontferrand. Cockerill will combine his duties with a playing role, while Howardreturns purely in a coaching capacity. "It's an interesting position, and a good transition out ofthe playing side of things," said Howard who was Leicester's midfieldgeneral when they won three titles in three years upto 2001.

He admitted it had been a wrench to give up playing after a careerin which he won 20 caps for Australia, as well as playing Super 12 for the ACTBrumbies. "It was a very difficult choice not to keep on playing, butthis new role is a personal challenge for me.

"I questioned whether it was worth staying at Montferrand asa player for another season, but Leicester has a great infrastructure and anability to do wonderful things."

Cockerill added: "I still feel I've got a bit of playing timeleft in me, but I will also assist the forward coaching and be the forwards coachfor the development team, so hopefully I can help the younger players bridgethe gap from the Academy into the first team.

"The club has always had a very proud tradition, and I feelstrongly about that."

Martin Johnson, the former England skipper who captains theTigers, was delighted to see Howard and Cockerill back at the club, which wonback-to-back European Cups in 2001 and 2002 but is currently struggling in thebottom half of the English Premiership.

"Pat brings a wealth of experience to the backs, whileCockers will have picked up a valuable insight into forward play from his time inFrance, which I'm sure will be useful to our pack," Johnson said.

AFP - 2004.

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20 June 2018
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