By Thomas Branston
Leicester Tigers have sacked director of rugby Richard Cockerill after nearly eight years in charge at the club.
The 46-year-old has been on the Premiership side’s coaching staff since 2004, and took over as head coach in 2009.
Cockerill was then named director of rugby in 2010 and Tigers never failed to reach the Premiership playoffs under his leadership.
Head coach Aaron Mauger will take over on an interim basis.
“It is with great sadness and regret that I leave my position. I still believe that I am the right person to lead the team.”, Cockerill said.
Tigers currently sit fifth in the Aviva Premiership and are 15 points adrift of league leaders Wasps, having lost five of their 12 league games so far this season.
Former England and Tigers hooker Cockerill who has spent 23 of the last 25 years of his career with the midlands club, said he “respected the board’s decision” to make a change they see as being “in the best interests of the club”.