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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 March, 2005, 17:08 GMT
Leicester confirm Wells departure
John Wells speaks during a Leicester training session
Wells has only been in charge of the Tigers for just over a year
Leicester Tigers have confirmed that head coach John Wells will leave the club at the end of the season to be replaced by Pat Howard.

Wells is leaving to take up a position with the Rugby Football Union's national academy.

Howard will step in as head coach, with Richard Cockerill taking up the post of forwards coach and Neil Back becoming technical director.

Tigers' chairman, Peter Tom, said: "We all wish John well in his new role."

He added: "He has been a loyal servant to the club over more than two decades, and has made a major contribution to our success in recent years.

"There is still a great deal of rugby to be played this season.

I am sure John will be of a huge benefit to the England set-up
Martin Corry,
Leicester and England

"John is determined that we finish this season on a high and I know the players will do everything they can do to give him the best possible send-off."

Wells only took over as head coach last season after Dean Richards' departure.

"I am extremely sad to be leaving Leicester," said Wells, "but it's an exciting new challenge for me and I'm looking forward to working within the RFU's National Academy structure."

Last week Back announced he had turned down a position with the national academy in order to remain with Leicester.

It is not known at this stage whether 36-year-old will extend his playing career with Leicester into another season.

England captain and Leicester number eight Martin Corry paid tribute to the work Wells has done with the Tigers.

"John is everything good which is epitomised by Leicester," said Corry.

"He is a phenomenal bloke, a great character and a superb coach. I wish him all the success he deserves.

"His whole mentality is just about winning. He has brought that into Leicester, and I am sure he will be of a huge benefit to the England set-up."

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