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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 June, 2003, 17:10 GMT 18:10 UK
Shelford leaves Saracens
Former Saracens head coach Wayne Shelford
Shelford: Disappointing season
Saracens have released coach Wayne Shelford and the rest of his backroom staff.

Shelford's younger brother, Darrell, Tim Wright and Pat Fox are the other departures from Vicarage Road.

Former New Zealand Test captain Shelford presided over a disappointing Zurich Premiership campaign last season.

Saracens finished eighth, winning just eight of their 22 games, and were also involved in the relegation shake-up over the closing few weekends.

"We are today confirming that following a review of the season and the team's performance we are now seeking a new coaching set-up for next season." said Saracens chief executive Mark Sinderberry.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank Wayne Shelford, Darrell Shelford, Tim Wright and Pat Fox for their efforts."

Saracens say an announcement on a new coaching staff will be made later this summer.

Shelford's appointment as head coach was only confirmed 14 months ago, but he could not inspire the Saracens revival that millionaire owner Nigel Wray so badly wanted.

Once again, the Watford-based outfit failed to deliver, finishing eighth in the Zurich Premiership, with just eight wins from 22 starts.

Shelford, capped 22 times by New Zealand between 1986 and 1990, enjoyed a successful coaching career with Northampton during the early 90s, and it was hoped he could get the best out of a star-studded squad.

But he could make little headway.

There were occasional highlights, such as reaching the Premiership wildcard final, but they also became embroiled in a congested relegation picture.

Saracens found themselves battling for survival, and it required a decisive home victory over Bristol in late April before they could haul themselves clear of the drop zone.

Wray's patience has now run out, with Saracens landing just one major trophy - the 1998 Tetley's Bitter Cup - during rugby union's professional era.

Wray has again recruited heavily for next season, capturing the likes of French star Raphael Ibanez, former Australian international Rod Kafer and Fijian second-row forward Simon Raiwalui.

Kafer is likely to play a prominent coaching role, certainly in terms of the backs, but Saracens need a major figure pulling the strings.

Sorry Saracens' trophy gap
07 Jan 03  |  English

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