O'Connor returns to coach Leicester

by AFP

Australian Matt O'Connor will hope to repeat the success of his first spell at English Premiership giants Leicester Tigers after being appointed head coach for a second time on Monday.

The 46-year-old was with the Tigers from 2008 to 2013, first as backs coach then as head coach in a period when they won three Premiership titles.

O'Connor will replace Aaron Mauger who will leave after next Saturday's clash with Northampton.

Former New Zealand star centre Mauger stepped up from the head coach position -- which he had assumed when O'Connor left in 2013 -- after long-serving director of rugby and Tigers icon Richard Cockerill was sacked as director of rugby on January 2.

"The club have conducted an exhaustive search to find who we feel is the right person to take the team forward," said Leicester chairman Peter Tom.

"And this brought up the names of a number of potentially very good coaches.

O'Connor was a co-coach of the Queensland Reds last year with Nick Stiles. Photo: Getty Images"One of the most significant factors in our deliberations was experience of the Premiership and what it takes to win the competition.

"Matt has that experience as head coach during a successful period which >brought three league titles, an Anglo-Welsh Cup and the club's most recent appearance in the European Cup final.

"The team also topped the try-scoring figures in the Premiership four times in that five-year period with Matt in charge of the attack."

O'Connor -- who after Leicester coached Irish province Leinster winning the Celtic League in his first season before being sacked the campaign after that and most recently was co-head coach of Super Rugby franchise the Queensland Reds -- will take up the post next month subject to being granted a visa.

Leicester are presently fifth in the table, 17 points off leaders Wasps after 17 matches.