Giteau to coach Toulon backs

Beth Newman Profile
by AFP & Beth Newman

Matt Giteau is taking the reins of Toulon's backs, after the immediate departure of head coach Mike Ford.

Giteau, who is currently injured, is set to leave Toulon at the end of the season but has accepted a role as a dual player-coach until then.

Ford was already set to be replaced, with former France scrumhalf Fabien Galthie announced as the head coach for next season.

Former Leicester mentor Richard Cockerill will take over the head coaching role for the rest of this season.

Ford was the club's third coach in less than a year. He took over from Diego Dominguez in October, just a month after outspoken club president Mourad Boudjellal had brought the former England defence coach in as Toulon's backs coach.

Dominguez was sacked following a poor start to the season that saw Toulon win only four of eight Top 14 matches and lose at home to Saracens in the European Champions Cup pool stages.

Mike  Ford will take over as Toulon coach. Photo: Getty ImagesBut results did not improve under Ford - if anything getting worse - as they have won only six of 14 top flight encounters since the Englishman took over.

And Sunday's Champions Cup exit at the hands of Top 14 rivals Clermont was the last straw for Boudjellal.

Cockerill was brought into the Toulon backroom staff by Ford three months ago, just four days after the former England hooker had been sacked by Leicester Tigers.

Cockerill, who is taking over at Edinburgh next season, will be assisted by Marc Dal Maso and Giteau.

Dal Maso will be one of Galthie's assistants next season alongside Fabrice Landreau, Toulon announced last month.

Galthie guided Stade Francais to the French title in 2007 and Montpellier to the Top 14 final in 2011.

Ford was Bath head coach when they lost to Saracens in the 2015 English Premiership final.

Cockerill guided Leicester to three English titles in five years from 2009 to 2013.