London - Richard
Cockerill's seven-year spell as Leicester's director of rugby came to
an end on Monday when the English rugby giants sacked him.
The 46-year-old former England hooker - who has been on the coaching
staff at the Tigers for 12 years and acceded to the top post in 2010 -
said he was sad to be leaving a club which he served with distinction
as both player and coach, insisting he was the right person for the job.
Cockerill's sacking came the day after a narrow 16-12 home defeat to
defending champions Saracens which left Leicester in fifth spot 15
points adrift of leaders Wasps.
"It is with great sadness and regret that I leave my position as
director of rugby with immediate effect," said Cockerill in a statement
on the club website.
"I still believe that I am the right person to lead the team at this
present time but respect the Board's decision to make change as they see
fit in the best interests of the club.
"I wish to thank the club and in particular Simon Cohen and Peter Tom
(chairman) for giving me the opportunity to lead this great club and
the support they have given me in the last seven years.
"I arrived back at the club in 2004 as an academy coach and leave as
DOR with a record that speaks for itself and stands up against any in
club rugby in the world.
"This club has made me the person and the coach I am today and I will never forget what they have done for me."
Tom paid tribute to Cockerill - who guided the Tigers to two
Premiership titles as head coach in 2009 and 2010 and then a record 10th
domestic crown as director of rugby in 2013.
"We thank Richard for his loyal and dedicated service as a player, coach and director of rugby," said Tomas in a statement.
"He has a great passion for the club and for the game of rugby, and has shared in many massive occasions with the Tigers.
"The club always has aspirations to contest the major honours in the
game and that remains unchanged but the board believes this is the right
time to make a change."
Head coach and former New Zealand star Aaron Mauger will take charge whilst the board reviews its coaching structure.