Geordan Murphy has left Leicester with immediate effect a year before his contract was due to expire. The director of rugby’s departure, which the club said is by mutual consent, ends Murphy’s 23-year association with the team he joined as a player in 1997.
Steve Borthwick will continue as the coach while the role of director will be replaced with a position that oversees the “strategic vision and off-field responsibilities at Oval Park”.
Leicester said the decision was made after discussions over Murphy’s current contract and comes shortly after the completion of the 2019-20 season when they finished 11th, spared relegation only by Saracens’ salary cap breaches.
“I have spent 23 great years at Leicester Tigers and forged great friendships with people throughout that entire period,” Murphy said. “I’m most proud of the respect I earned from my teammates and colleagues, and I’m grateful to all of them for how they have helped me, supported me and shared in my time at this club.
“Winning has been the easy part. It is when things are not going well, when you are losing and having to get back up every day and put on a brave face, that you know who your friends are and, to all of those who supported me through those times, those are the friends I will have for life.
“I wish the club the very best for the future on and off the pitch, and say thank you to the supporters who have been a part of my life for more than 20 years.”
Murphy, who won 72 caps for Ireland, make 322 appearances in 16 seasons including four years as club captain, in the process winning eight Premiership and two European titles. Success as a coach has been harder to come by. Murphy rose through the ranks in roles overseeing skills, backs and attack before moving on to becoming the coach and then the director of rugby.
“This decision, while difficult, was made to ensure we are as effective and successful an organisation as we can be at Leicester,” the chairman, Peter Tom, said. “Steve Borthwick understands the expectations of him, his coaching team and the playing group at Leicester Tigers on the pitch. We are determined to see this club back at the top, where supporters expect us to be, competing for trophies and are fully behind the players, coaches and staff on this journey.”