Paul Burke steps down as Leicester Tigers backs’ coach

Fellow former Ireland international Geordan Murphy could step up from his assistant’s role

Former Ireland international Geordan Murphy is regarded as favourite to succeed Paul Burke. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

Former Ireland international Paul Burke has stepped down as backs' coach at the Leicester Tigers. Geordan Murphy would be regarded as favourite to succeed him in stepping up from his role as assistant backs' coach, which he assumed since retiring as a player during the summer.

The 41-year-old Burke has been at the club since 2006, initially as a player, then kicking coach and assistant backs’ coach, before taking on his more recent position.

Tigers' executive chairman Peter Tom said: "Paul has been a good servant to the club and was very much liked by players and staff, first as an experienced member of the squad and then as part of the coaching team, initially under Heyneke Meyer and then Richard Cockerill. We are grateful for Paul's hard work on behalf of the club over the last eight-and-a-half years, and we wish him well for the future."


Meanwhile, the four Irish provinces are likely to take the field for their Guinness Pro12 matches this weekend with emaciated squads as a result of player-management guidelines for the upcoming November Test series and the amount of rugby played by front-line players in the past fortnight.


There may be one or two silver linings, certainly in the case of Leinster, who could welcome back Shane Jennings (hamstring) and Dave Kearney (knee) for at least part of their clash with Edinburgh at the RDS on Friday night.

Dan Leavy made his return to action following a knee injury on Saturday when he was brought on in the British & Irish Cup defeat to Welsh club, Carmarthen Quins. Jordi Murphy (shoulder) started training with the squad last week, while Rob Kearney (back) and Mike Ross (groin) could be given some game-time given they have missed the last few weeks.

Connacht loosehead prop Ronan Loughney, who was replaced during the defeat to the Exeter Chiefs at the weekend, will have his scan today, having originally being scheduled to undergo one yesterday. The initial prognosis is that he will be out for two to three weeks.

Secondrow Aly Muldowney showed delayed onset concussion symptoms on Monday and will be required to undergo return-to-play protocols this week. Matt Healy and Dave McSharry have returned from minor knocks and will be available for the game against the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium on Friday.

Ireland underage wing Ciaran Gaffney suffered a concussion while playing for the Connacht Eagles in their British & Irish Cup win over London Scottish and he too will observe return-to-play protocols.

Aside from James Cronin, the only other player to suffer an injury for Munster was Shane Buckley, who damaged a shoulder while playing for the A side and will be out for up to four weeks. Munster make a trip to the Arms Park on Saturday where they will face the Cardiff Blues.

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan is an Irish Times sports writer