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Page last updated at 13:50 GMT, Friday, 15 May 2009 14:50 UK

Hanks replaces McGeechan at Wasps

Waikato coach Tony Hanks
Hanks helped Wasps win three Premierships and a Heineken Cup

Wasps have confirmed former assistant coach Tony Hanks as their new director of rugby, following Ian McGeechan's resignation on Thursday.

The New Zealander spent three years at Wasps between 2002 and 2005 and had a six-month spell with the Premiership club earlier this season.

He will leave his position as head coach of the Waikato provincial side to take up a three-year deal with Wasps.

Shaun Edwards stays as head coach, and a new forwards coach will be appointed.

Wasps, who have enjoyed a decade of almost unbroken success, endured a trophyless season in 2008-09 and are relying on a Bourgoin victory in the European Challenge Cup final in order to sneak into the Heineken Cup.

And with the club seeking to develop a new stadium, the pressure is on Hanks to return the club to winning ways next season.

"I came to Wasps in November with every intention of going back and resuming my Waikato commitments but the Wasps role was an opportunity too good to turn down," said Hanks.

"My family and I are extremely excited to come back into a club where we have experienced some very special times.

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"When I left Wasps I always said that it would be great to be able to come back in some sort of capacity and what better than as director of rugby?"

With the likes of Josh Lewsey, James Haskell, Riki Flutey and Tom Plamer all leaving the club, Hanks will be looking to strengthen his squad.

"My priorities are to complete the coaching team and our player recruitment ahead of next season," he said.

"My last six months at the club allowed me to be involved in things like player recruitment and we will soon be in a position to announce some further quality signings.

"One of the big reasons for accepting the post has been the direction and ambition of the club. My family love living in London and we enjoy the people and the culture at the club which includes our loyal fan base which continues to grow."

Executive chairman Mark Rigby added: "As we look to the future and welcome Tony Hanks - a man who was a key part of the Wasps coaching outfit that enjoyed phenomenal success between 2002 and 2005 - we embark on a new era for the club with the appointment of a new director of rugby.

"It is great to bring on board someone who knows and understands the club's ethos, and his long-term commitment, enthusiasm and excitement will be key in the next stage of our development.

"Tony is hugely respected by all those at the club - players, coaches and staff alike and his achievements and progression to head coach with Waikato show his drive and dedication.

"He played an integral role in offering support to the squad this season. The club now moves forward as we look to embark on our long-term plan of development and success.

"Tony joins us with immediate effect, leading our pre-season programme as we push for the strongest possible start to next season."



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