Back confirms Leeds exit
May 10, 2011
Neil Back consoles his players after their defeat to Northampton © Getty Images
Leeds head coach Neil Back has resigned with immediate effect after his side finished bottom of the Aviva Premiership.
Back joined Leeds in 2008 and, in his first season, helped the club to promotion from the second tier. The Headingley-based outfit finished 10th in 2010 but a final-day defeat at Northampton last weekend meant they propped up the table on points difference this campaign.
Relegation has not yet been confirmed, however, with their fate depending on the outcome of the two-legged Championship final between Worcester and Cornish Pirates on May 11 and 18. Worcester are the only Championship club that meets Premiership entry criteria so if the Pirates triumph then Leeds will get a reprieve.
"The experiences over the last three years have been incredible in terms of my personal and coaching development," Back said. "I am very passionate about what I do and I have thrived on the challenge over the past three years, however taking all things into account, I feel I have taken Leeds as far as I can."
Leeds are planning for next year on the basis they will be relegated and chief executive Gary Hetherington said Back's departure was best for both parties.
"Neil had a contract with us, he has had three years and for much of that three years it has been a successful time," Hetherington told BBC Radio Leeds. "The last season has been a disappointing one. There was an option within the contract for either party to come out.
"Neil had given it a lot of thought and taken advice from people he respects and he felt it was the right time for him to come out and probably the right time for the club as well. It is an opportunity for him to look at new challenges and new horizons. I have no doubt he will have a long career in coaching.
"It is an opportunity for the club to look again and at our strategy going forward. We are facing up to life in the Championship. There was always going to be a restructuring of all our staff and those changes can be made in the knowledge we will have a new coach."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September