Kingston to take over from O’Shea

Date published: April 27 2016

Harlequins have announced that their current head coach John Kingston will become the club's new director of rugby from next season.

Kingston will take over at the end of the campaign from Conor O'Shea, with the latter taking up the Italy head coaching role. The former Richmond RFC coach joined Quins in 2001.

In an official statement, Kingston said: "I’m immensely proud of what I have achieved in the last eight years as Head Coach and taking the role of Director of Rugby is an exciting and well timed new challenge for me.

"Conor O’Shea will leave a lasting legacy on this club with the success we have achieved over the last six years and it is something I am excited to build on heading into our 150th year.

"He has made a massive impression on me, the squad, staff and supporters and we know he will be greatly missed by the whole club.

"I’m looking forward to getting the best out of a great group of players and a wonderfully exciting new coaching group during the next era for Harlequins."

Kingston, appointed into the role following a rigorous and wide-ranging selection process, will be ably supported by his back-room team, which will see Mark Mapletoft become head coach after six successful years as backline coach.

The new coaching structure also includes British and Irish Lions series winning Graham Rowntree, who is set to become the forwards coach after being involved with England for eight years.

"To have the opportunity to coach at such a prestigious and historic club really excites me," Rowntree said.

"Harlequins has a very talented playing squad with a wealth of top class experience and a fantastic crop of youngsters.

"I can't wait to join up with the new coaching group and get started."

Collin Osborne, who has been with Quins for more than two decades,  will continue as the skills coach.

Seasoned back-rower Nick Easter will make the transition from player to coach when he is also set to join Kingston's back-room coaching compliment.

"When we set out on the journey to find a new Director of Rugby we were very clear that we needed somebody who would help drive us onto the next level, while building on our style of play and culture that makes us Harlequins," David Ellis, Harlequins Chief Executive, said.

Ellis has backed the board's decision in their appointment of Kingston.

"John impressed us all throughout the process. His passion for the Club and our style of play, coupled with his great insight and understanding of our game, will stand us in good stead, and convinced us all he is the right man for the job," he said.

"With the announcements today we are able to augment the strength of our current coaching set up with new thinking and freshness to keep us pushing forward with our ambitions."