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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 April, 2004, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
Leicester turn to Wells
John Wells has been in charge since Dean Richards left Welford Road
Wells has been in charge since Dean Richards left Welford Road
Leicester have appointed long-time Tigers servant John Wells as their new head coach.

The ex-flanker, previously Leicester forwards coach, has been in charge of team affairs since director of rugby Dean Richards left earlier this year.

Former players Pat Howard and Richard Cockerill are both rejoining the club from French side Montferrand.

Howard is the Tigers' new backs coach while Cockerill becomes assistant forwards coach.

Chief executive Peter Wheeler will be the club's director of rugby, with responsibility for recruitment and the successful implementation of the new coaching structure.

Leicester have had a poor season but have improved since Wells replaced his old friend Richards.

"I am delighted to have my position confirmed," said Wells.

"There has been a lot of speculation over the last three months, but I have been extremely pleased with the way that the team has performed.

Leicester has a great infrastructure and an ability to do wonderful things
New backs coach Pat Howard

"I've been at the same club for 23 years. I'm proud to have been associated with an organisation that's always aspired to be the very best."

Cockerill and Howard are both excited to be returning to Welford Road.

Former England hooker Cockerill played 257 times for Leicester in a 10-year stint and his combative style made him a firm favourite with fans until his departure for France.

"The club has always had a very proud tradition, and I feel strongly about that," said Cockerill.

"I still feel I've got a bit of playing time left but I will also assist the forward coaching and be the forwards coach for the development team."

Unlike Cockerill, Howard will not carry on his playing career.

The 30-year-old Australian made 94 appearances for the Tigers between 1998 and 2001.

He helped Leicester to three Premiership titles and played his last game for the club in the stunning victory over Stade Francais in the 2001 Heineken Cup final.

"I questioned whether it was worth staying at Montferrand as a player for another season," he said.

"But Leicester has a great infrastructure and an ability to do wonderful things."

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