May 29, 2023

RFU statement: More staff changes as England raid Leicester again

RFU statement: More staff changes as England raid Leicester again

Steve Borthwick’s overhaul of the England setup he inherited in December from Eddie Jones had another major development on Tuesday when the Leicester pair Richard Wigglesworth and Aled Walters were confirmed as new staff for the 2023/24 season. The news broke just after hours after the 9am RFU statement confirmed that forwards coach Richard Cockerill would exit the England scene for a similar role next season at Montpellier in the Top 14.

With ex-Leicester director of rugby Cockerill confirmed as leaving before the World Cup, a follow-up RFU statement five hours later confirmed that Wigglesworth and Walter would both quit the Tigers at the end of the current season and will link up with Borthwick’s England ahead of the World Cup.

A statement read: “Richard Wigglesworth and Aled Walters will join the England coaching set-up at the end of the season. Wigglesworth, who will be assistant coach, and Walters, who is named as head of strength and conditioning, join from Leicester Tigers and will begin work with Steve Borthwick and the wider coaching team ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

“Wigglesworth enjoyed a decorated playing career. He was capped 33 times for England, making his debut in the 2008 Six Nations against Wales. He represented England at two Rugby World Cups in 2011 and 2015. He made 449 Premiership appearances for Sale Sharks, Saracens and Leicester Tigers, winning three European Champions Cups and seven Premiership titles in his 20-year career.

“In 2019, Wigglesworth also began undertaking coaching work and was Canada’s defence and kicking coach at that year’s Rugby World Cup. He took up the additional role of attack coach with Leicester Tigers, alongside playing, upon his move there in 2020. He was named Leicester Tigers interim head coach in December 2022, following Borthwick’s appointment as England head coach, and he immediately retired from his playing career.

“Walters also joins from Leicester Tigers, where he is head of physical performance. He joined the club in 2020 after being part of the management team who won the 2019 Rugby World Cup with South Africa. He has worked in rugby for 18 years, with roles at Scarlets, Taranaki and the ACT Brumbies before spending six years at Munster.”

Borthwick said: “Richard and Aled are two outstanding coaches in their fields who I know very well. Richard has been a proven winner throughout his playing career and has carried this into his coaching career. He already has international coaching experience, from the 2019 Rugby World Cup, alongside a hugely successful playing career and has amassed a wealth of knowledge.

“Few people have such an in-depth, wide-ranging view and understanding of the tactical element of the game. He is a proud Englishman who has represented his country and is desperate to see us win, he will show he really cares about this team.

“Aled is an excellent performance coach who had an incredible impact with the Rugby World Cup holders, South Africa. Wherever he has worked, players improve. I have never met anyone who is able to get more out of players than he does.”

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