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Page last updated at 10:18 GMT, Thursday, 17 February 2011

Wasps part company with Tony Hanks as rugby director

Tony Hanks
Hanks' last game in charge of Wasps was a 10-9 loss to Gloucester

Wasps director of rugby Tony Hanks has left the club by mutual consent after 21 months in charge.

The Londoners have won only one of their last six games and are currently sixth in the Premiership.

New Zealander Hanks said: "I am naturally disappointed to be leaving the club, and this has been a really tough decision to come to."

Head coach Shaun Edwards will take charge of the squad for this weekend's game against Leicester.

Wasps say they will begin searching for a permanent replacement immediately.

Chief executive Chris Thomas explained the departure: "Results have not gone as we would have liked this season and we have been disappointed with recent performances.

"Tony has been equally disappointed with how things are going on the pitch as he has always been wholeheartedly committed to the club with a strong desire to see it succeed.

"Both parties believe that the time is right for change to give the squad a fresh start and the club is now looking forward.

"Having been involved in a variety of roles here over the past number of years, Tony has been fully committed to developing the club in all areas and he has earned everyone's respect."

Hanks, who succeeded Ian McGeechan in May 2009, added: "In my time here over many years I have developed a very strong bond with the players and staff and I want to thank them for their hard work and commitment.

"I have huge respect for London Wasps and I wish everyone the best. I am confident there is a special group of players coming through and that the club will be successful in the future."

Hanks led Wasps to fifth place in last year's Premiership - his first full season in charge - and had to contend with the departures of key players including James Haskell, Tom Palmer, Riki Flutey and later Danny Cipriani.

Wasps looked to be gathering momentum this term, going on a six-match winning run across November and December.

But Hanks had secured only one win in his last four Premiership games and saw his side crash out of the Heineken Cup in January, despite a win over champions Toulouse.

The club will be eager to find a replacement quickly, as Edwards, who takes charge against Leicester on Saturday, will be fulfilling his role as Wales defence coach when they face Italy in the Six Nations a week later.

"Our focus now is on recruiting someone who can take the club forward and put us in the best position to challenge for honours," explained Thomas.

"Tony's successor will inherit an ambitious squad that we will strengthen in the coming months and with eight more Premiership games to go, our aim as a minimum is to secure our place in next year's Heineken Cup and continue to fight for a place in the play-offs.

"This club has a proud history of success and our ambition is as strong as ever."

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see also
Wasps rocked by Varndell injury
15 Feb 11 |  London Wasps
Wasps 9-10 Gloucester
13 Feb 11 |  English
Hanks replaces McGeechan at Wasps
15 May 09 |  London Wasps
Waikato coach joins Wasps staff
23 Oct 08 |  London Wasps

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