Englishman Cockerill takes over as new coach of Georgia

rugby18 January 2024 17:30| ยฉ AFP
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Richard Cockerill @ Getty Images

Former England hooker Richard Cockerill has been appointed the new head coach of Georgia and will also manage the Tblisi-based Black Lion franchise, the Georgian rugby federation announced on Thursday on X.

The 53-year-old replaces Levan Maisashvili at the helm of the Lelos and the Georgian franchise, who stepped down after a disappointing World Cup 2023.

Georgia, who have emerged as consistently the strongest European team outside the Six Nations, were eliminated in the group stages after three defeats and an 18-18 draw with Portugal.

Georgia's next international comes on 4 February when they take on Germany in Dessau in the opening round of the Rugby Europe Championship.

On Saturday, Black Lion host French club Clermont in the final pool game of their inaugural year in the Challenge Cup in which they have already beaten Welsh side Scarlets.

Cockerill spent most of his playing career at Leicester. He also won 27 England caps and was a part of the 1999 World Cup squad.

He began his coaching career back at Leicester with the forwards before taking over as director of rugby.

He moved to Toulon in 2017 but swiftly departed for Edinburgh where he spent four years before becoming Eddie Jones' assistant with England between 2021 and 2022.

After briefly acting as interim England coach when Jones was sacked in December 2022, he was replaced by Steve Borthwick.

Cockerill was brought in to Montpellier last summer but was sacked when Bernard Laporte took over in mid-November with his side bottom of the Top 14 following a run of six consecutive defeats.