Struggling Leeds Carnegie have sacked director of rugby Andy Key as they battle to save their Aviva Premiership status.
The club, who sit at the foot of the table with just one win all season, made the shock announcement yesterday as part of a restructuring of their management team.
It comes just four days after Leeds suffered their 11th Premiership loss, narrowly going down 19-15 against leaders Leicester, Key’s former club,
Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “This was a tough decision to make.
“However, we felt it was important that we took it as part of the overall vision for our rugby operation.
“Neil Back will now be in sole charge of all team matters and I, as chief executive, will take up some of the other areas that Andy was responsible for.
“We will not be looking to appoint a new director of rugby and would like to thank Andy for his outstanding contribution to the club in his time here,”
Key, 51, joined Leeds along with former Leicester team-mate Back in 2008 and immediately guided the club to promotion in their first season in charge.
Last year they retained their Premiership status following a remarkable rally in the second period of the campaign and Key was named the competition’s top director of rugby.
However, they head into Sunday’s fixture at Saracens three points adrift of Newcastle and in dire need of points.
Key, who forged out a fine reputation as a player, first team coach and Academy chief at Leicester, said: “I would like to say that I am proud of the achievements we have made here at Leeds Carnegie during my time at the club.
“Whilst I am disappointed not to be seeing the vision through to its conclusion, having met with the management, I understand the direction they want to take the club in. We have worked exceptionally hard since 2008 to take the club into a positive and professional position and I wish the team and the club all the very best for the future.
“It has been a difficult season for Leeds Carnegie. However, I feel that we have made big strides in recent weeks and I have every confidence that the team will continue that good work.
“I would like to thank all those who have supported me in my time at Leeds Carnegie and the many friends we have made here in Yorkshire.”
Leeds duo return: Page 23.