Harlequins confirm new coaching panel for 2016/7

John Kingston will step up as Director of Rugby

Aviva Premiership Rugby club Harlequins have announced that following Conor O’Shea’s departure the current Head Coach John Kingston will become the Club’s Director of Rugby.

O’Shea will take charge of Italy at the end of this season and Kingston will step up from the beginning of the 2016/17 season.

Commenting on the announcement, Kingston said: “I’m immensely proud of what I have achieved in the last eight years as Head Coach and taking the role of Director of Rugby is an exciting and well timed new challenge for me.

“Conor O’Shea will leave a lasting legacy on this club with the success we have achieved over the last six years and it is something I am excited to build on heading into our 150th year. He has made a massive impression on me, the squad, staff and supporters and we know he will be greatly missed by the whole Club.

“I’m looking forward to getting the best out of a great group of players and a wonderfully exciting new coaching group during the next era for Harlequins.”

Kingston, appointed into the role following a rigorous and wide-ranging selection process, will be ably supported by his back room team, which will see Mark Mapletoft become Head Coach after six successful years in the role of Backs Coach.

The new coaching structure also includes British and Irish Lions series winning Coach Graham Rowntree (pictured below), who will join as Forwards Coach following eight years with England’s national team.

Rowntree said: “To have the opportunity to coach at such a prestigious and historic club really excites me. Harlequins has a very talented playing squad with a wealth of top class experience and a fantastic crop of youngsters. I can’t wait to join up with the new coaching group and get started.”

Graham_Rowntree2

Collin Osborne will continue as Skills Coach. With over 20 years at Harlequins, he embodies the Harlequins vision and has extensive experience delivering it through every level of the game.

Number 8 Nick Easter will join the coaching team in charge of defence as he makes the transition from player to coach.

Given Harlequins’ ever increasing focus on developing the Club’s Academy and entering into other formats of the game, including sevens and women, as well as our interests in the USA, Tony Diprose will be promoted to Academy and Global Development Director. The position will oversee the management of the performance pathway and pipeline of elite players for Harlequins.

Confirming the news, Harlequins Chief Executive, David Ellis said: “When we set out on the journey to find a new Director of Rugby we were very clear that we needed somebody who would help drive us onto the next level, while building on our style of play and culture that makes us Harlequins.

“After conducting an extensive and thorough search I am delighted to announce John as our new Director of Rugby. John impressed us all throughout the process. His passion for the Club and our style of play, coupled with his great insight and understanding of our game, will stand us in good stead, and convinced us all he is the right man for the job.

“With the announcements today we are able to augment the strength of our current coaching set up with new thinking and freshness to keep us pushing forward with our ambitions.”

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