London Irish rugby club this morning announced that Tom Coventry will take up the position of Head Coach for the start of the 2015/16 Aviva Premiership season.
The announcement comes after yesterday’s news that Brian Smith would be leaving his role as director of rugby with immediate effect for family reasons. Forwards coach Glenn Delaney is to take the role of interim head coach until the end of the season.
Coventry is currently Assistant Coach of the Chiefs, the New Zealand Super Rugby franchise, and will remain in that position until the end of the 2015 Investec Super Rugby season.
The former loose forward has won two Super Rugby titles with the Chiefs in the last three years and has also worked as Samoan Co-Head coach since 2011.
“I had lengthy discussions with the Board of Directors at London Irish and with the significant investment that has been put into the Club, especially with the new training facility, it made my decision to join a straightforward one,” said Coventry.
“The owners have a clear vision of where they want to take the Club and it is a challenge I am immensely excited by and I cannot wait to get stuck in when I join.”
Born and raised in Waikato, Coventry played 52 games for Waikato between 1988 and 1994, scoring 14 tries and winning the NPC in 1992 before his coaching career began with Otago University.
Tom’s coaching career includes, amongst others, roles with New Zealand Schools, New Zealand U20s and four years as Co-Head Coach of Hawke’s Bay where he won the ITM Cup.
“I have enjoyed my time with the Chiefs and will continue to do so until it is time to go, but I think to stay fresh as a coach it is important to immerse yourself in new environments, new challenges and experiences which is what I am going to do,” he added.
Bob Casey, London Irish Rugby Development Director, said, “The Club’s rugby committee has undertaken an extensive international search to find a top calibre coach to take London Irish forward.
“Tom Coventry proved to be an outstanding candidate given his individual character and rugby experience. He comes from the best rugby environment in the world where he has had much success and worked with two of New Zealand’s leading coaches in Wayne Smith and Dave Rennie.
“It is a great coup for London Irish to secure a coach of Tom’s calibre to lead our rugby programme over the coming seasons. We look forward to welcoming Tom and his family into the London Irish family.”