Leeds Carnegie have opened talks with departing England defence coach Mike Ford about a permanent position on the club’s backroom staff.
Ford, who left his post with the Rugby Football Union this week, has been holding weekly training sessions with the Championship club.
Now that he is effectively a free agent, Leeds’s first-year head coach Diccon Edwards is keen to get the former British Lions and World Cup final coach on board on a more permanent basis.
“We’re in discussion with Mike about the potential to bring him in on a more formal basis,” said Edwards.
“He’s brought extremely valuable support for me and the coaches both on and off the pitch during what has been an informal relationship and we’re now in discussions to see if we can move that forward.”
Ford, who is the father of Leeds fly-half Joe, has been lending the players the benefit of his experience, which has also rubbed off on Edwards and his staff.
Edwards said: “I’m very inexperienced as a head coach and you’re always learning, so it’s been a great opportunity to see someone who has been at the pinnacle of the game.
“Just in terms of his presence, the way he communicates to players, the way he reinforces his message.
“It’s not just the technical aspect, it’s also delivery, and that’s been outstanding for me and also the other coaches.
“We’ve been fortunate to benefit from that; it’s almost as if he’s been doing this as a favour, but we’ll see what happens.
“There’s no formal agreement currently in place as to how many times he comes in, it’s just when he’s available and when we feel it is the right session for him to come in.
“But he’s been doing an outstanding job, giving the players real detail and real confidence about what they’re doing defensively.
“I believe we can benefit from that so hopefully we can get something sorted.”