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banner Friday, 23 November, 2001, 10:53 GMT
Plumtree leaves Swansea
Swansea celebrate winning last season's Welsh-Scottish League
Swansea have enjoyed success under John Plumtree
John Plumtree has been released by Swansea RFC after nearly five years in charge at St Helen's.

The 36-year-old New Zealander joined the All Whites in 1997 and won the league title in his first full year in charge.

Plumtree, who won South Africa's Currie Cup with Natal four times during the 90s as a player, also coached Swansea to the league title last season, while they lifted the Welsh Cup in 1999.

He began his coaching career as an assistant at the Crusaders club, where they won three successive Natal titles and the South African club championship in 1994-95.


For some time I've harboured an ambition to return to southern hemisphere rugby
Former Swansea coach John Plumtree

"What we've managed to achieve at Swansea over the past four and a half years has been tremendous," Plumtree said.

"I look back on the success of the club, from the time when the club turned professional to now, with pride.

"I'm just happy to have been a part of Swansea's success that has seen the club become one of the most respected and successful in Europe and a force in the domestic game."

However, the All Whites have struggled this season with form and injuries and currently sit fourth from bottom in the Welsh-Scottish League.

Swansea failed to advance from the pool stages of this season's inaugral Celtic League and are also struggling to make the knock-out stage of the Heineken Cup.

"John Plumtree has been instrumental in the phenomenal success of the club during the professional era," Swansea general manager Byron Mugford said.

"John has developed and provided a stream of Swansea players to the national team and the Lions.

"His contribution to professional rugby at Swansea has been enormous and we all wish him every success as he moves into the next stage of his career."

Former England coach Dick Best
Dick Best is a possible replacement at St Helen's

It is possible that Plumtree may return to South Africa, where he would be one of the front runners to coach a new provinicial side as the southern hemisphere's Super 12 competition looks to expand.

"For some time I've harboured an ambition to return to southern hemisphere rugby in a coaching capacity," Plumtree added.

"With my work at Swansea coming to an end, it seems an appropriate time for me to look to realising this ambition."

Swansea's former Welsh internationals Paul Moriarty and Tony Clement will share coaching duties for the remainder of this season.

One possible future replacement for Plumtree may be former England coach Dick Best, who was director of rugby at London Irish before an acrimonious split last April.

Best has recently been involved at St Helen's in an unofficial capacity.

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Swansea general manager Byron Mugford
"John feels he needs a new challenge."
Other top Welsh-Scottish Rugby stories:

Links to more Welsh-Scottish Rugby stories are at the foot of the page.

 
 
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