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Leicester Tigers announce new backs coach

25 July 2003

Leicester Tigers has announced ex-player Andy Key as the club's new backs coach.  The 44-year-old takes over from player / coach Rod Kafer who transferred to Saracens at the end of last season.

Andy is delighted to have been offered the job and is looking forward to his new role. 

"For the last four or five years we've had a definite Southern Hemisphere influence at the club, from Bob Dwyer to Rod Kafer.  We have gained a lot of experience as a result of their influence.  I think that Dean has now decided to look towards home grown coaches to bring on the English game."

The coaching team has been planning for the new season for a good few months now and part of Key's role is to work alongside the other coaches in developing and implementing a new style of play for the Tigers team.

"Any preparation for a season starts about three quarters of the way through the previous season," he said.

"We prepared early and already had a plan for pre-season training before our break in June.  This last month we have involved the players in game plan discussions and now that they understand and support it, we are ready to implement it during pre-season.

"We are currently developing the style of the game.  It's more of a 15-man game with hopefully more success allied to it.  I felt that we became stale and potentially predictable last year in our approach and style of game and it was time for us to review and reflect on how we play.  The new plan will allow us to be more successful and it's now time to implement it."

Looking to the coming season, Andy is realistic about the effect of the World Cup on the Premiership, but is keen for the team to improve on last year's performance.

"Nothing would please me more than if we were successful in all the competitions this season - to do well in the Zurich Premiership, get back to our winning ways in the Heineken Cup and succeed in the Powergen Cup that has eluded us. 

"The reality is that the World Cup is in front of us and we will potentially lose ten of our international players which means that a massive opportunity arises for our younger squad members.  It is therefore hugely important that we bring these new lads on and balance that with the experience of our remaining senior players. 

"If we come out of the first period of the Premiership having performed well with seven or eight wins then I think we will be pleased.

"All of the games this season will be difficult.  Each club is at a different level regarding their squad and some aren't missing as many players as others.  The World Cup will be an interesting equaliser."

Andy will continue his role as Head of Rugby Development but is now happy to relinquish some of his day to day responsibilities to his academy team.

"I now have split responsibility between the first team and the academy.  Most of my responsibility is with the first team and I will work with John Wells and Damian McGrath to prepare the team and the new style for future success.

"There is a very strong team below myself in the academy that has been successfully running our development set-up for the last five years and is more than capable to continue as I take up my new role." 

Andy will see his backs put to the test at their pre-season friendly against Perpignan on Saturday August 16 before they return home to British soil to take on the Cardiff Blues on Friday August 22 at Cardiff Arms Park and Sale Sharks at their new Edgeley Park ground on Friday August 29.

The Tigers Travel Club is organising away travel to both the Cardiff and Sharks matches for �10 per person.  For more information or to book, contact the Tigers ticket office on 08701 28 34 30 or email





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