London Irish rugby director Nick Kennedy departs club
Former player turns down offer to work alongside Les Kiss and Declan Kidney
Les Kiss and Declan Kidney have taken over as head coach and technical consultant respectively at London Irish. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho
London Irish rugby director Nick Kennedy has left the Aviva Premiership strugglers with immediate effect.
Making the announcement, the club also said that 35-year-old Kennedy had been given an opportunity to remain in his position and work alongside new technical consultant Declan Kidney and head coach Les Kiss.
But London Irish said that, after taking time to consider his options, Kennedy had requested to leave the club and “the London Irish management has reluctantly accepted his resignation”.
The appointments of former Ireland boss Kidney and former Ulster chief Kiss were revealed earlier this month.
Kennedy became rugby director in 2016. He made more than 200 appearances for the Exiles and won seven England caps.
Irish are 12 points adrift at the bottom of the Premiership with just five league games remaining, a run-in that begins against Madejski Stadium visitors Gloucester on Saturday.
“London Irish will always have a special place in my heart,” Kennedy said, in a statement released by Irish.
“This was not a decision that I made lightly, as there are a great bunch of coaches and players at Hazelwood [Irish’s training base].
“I’m proud I helped change the academy from a two-star to a five-star RFU rating, and to have gone undefeated for a season to win the under-18 Premiership Rugby title.
“I’m proud we won the Championship at the first time of asking, only losing one game all season, and I’m very proud of the players and how they fought to the end of every game.”
Irish club president and majority shareholder Mick Crossan added: “Nick will always be a major figure in the London Irish history books.
“He was an excellent player, and we believed that he had a promising career in front of him as a coach, which we had hoped that he would fulfil under the guidance of Declan Kidney and Les Kiss.
“So, we are disappointed that he has decided to move on. However, we have accepted his decision and wish him all the best for the future.”