Mauger to leave Crusaders for Leicester Tigers

Crusaders Assistant Coach Aaron Mauger has accepted the position of head coach of his former club Leicester Tigers in England for the 2015/16 season.

Mauger, who will complete his third Super Rugby season as Assistant Coach with the Crusaders in 2015, played 53 games for the Leicester Tigers between 2007 and 2010 and captained the side for much of the 2008 and 2009 seasons. He says it is a dream opportunity to return to a club that he is so fond of, in a Head Coach capacity.

“I have awesome memories of my time at Leicester as a player and it is a place I will very happily return to. I feel incredibly lucky to have the chance to do that as the Head Coach for the club and the timing is right for me to grab that opportunity. My aim is to help create the framework for Leicester to once again be amongst the top clubs in European and world rugby.

“I am loving being part of the coaching team at the Crusaders and still learning so much here, so it was not an easy decision to make. But I still have a whole Super Rugby season ahead of me to enjoy with this team, and then I know that the move to Leicester is the right thing to do for my coaching career. I would love to come back and coach in New Zealand long-term and I believe that this overseas experience will help me to do that and to become a better coach,” Mauger said.

Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder said he was thrilled for Mauger and fully supported his decision.

“Aaron is a highly valued and much loved member of this Crusaders coaching team and we will hate to see him go. But in saying that, we all know that this is an opportunity that should not be passed up so we are 100 percent on board with Azza’s decision and wish him the very best for this next stage in his coaching career. He is an outstanding coach and he is ready for this Head Coach role.”

Crusaders CEO Hamish Riach said Mauger had been a core member of the Crusaders team for a long time, as a player and then a coach, and would be sorely missed.

“Aaron has served, and continues to serve the Crusaders exceptionally well. He offers so much, not just as a highly-skilled coach but also as a great team man. We know he will do wonderful things with the Leicester Tigers club, and then we look forward to him bringing that invaluable experience back to New Zealand and continuing to make a huge contribution here,” Mr Riach said.

Mauger has signed a three year contract, which will start after the 2015 Super Rugby season.

“I am hugely grateful for the opportunities I have been given here at the Crusaders to grow and develop as a coach and a person. I am fully committed to the Crusaders in 2015 and cannot wait to get that season underway,” Mauger said.

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