Rugby union: Rotherham Titans head coach Blackett to join Wasps next season

10 Sept 2013....Rotherham Titans Head Coach, Lee Blackett
10 Sept 2013....Rotherham Titans Head Coach, Lee Blackett
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ROTHERHAM TITANS head coach Lee Blackett will join Wasps next season as their new backs coach in place of Stephen Jones, the Aviva Premiership club have announced.

Blackett became the youngest coach in the Championship when he took up the role of head coach at Clifton Lane in 2013 at the age of 30, earning wide-spread respect for leading the Titans to fourth spot in the division last season.

It was the first time the club had reached the semi-final play-off positions in the modern championship era.

Strong performances over that season culminated in a tightly contested play-off against Bristol Rugby and Titans are again on course for a top-four finish this term.

On his move, Blackett, who replaces ex-Wales fly-half Jones, who is returning to coach at Scarlets, said: “I am really excited about the new challenge ahead with Wasps next season.

“Even watching from the outside, you can see how much the club is moving forward and it’s an exciting time for Wasps.

“Any coach would jump at the chance to work with the calibre of players Wasps have at their disposal.

“I’d like to thank the Rotherham directors who gave me the opportunity as head coach and I hope I’ve repaid them.

“As a coach, you are very reliant on players and a massive thank you must also go to them for how hard they have worked and played.

“I’m very appreciative of all the support I’ve been given by directors, players, supporters and everyone involved at Rotherham.

“As anyone who knows me will tell you, I will be fully committed to Rotherham for the rest of the season.

“It’s the Titans first and there won’t be a spare second to think about anything other than our push for a play-off place.

“It’s massively important for the club and it would be great to go out on a high by reaching the play-offs in successive years.”

Blackett’s arrival will boost a Wasps coaching team which includes director of rugby and head coach Dai Young, defence coach Brad Davis and part-time assistant coach Andy Titterrell, who knows Blackett from their time together playing at Leeds.

Young added: “Lee (Blackett) is one of the brightest young coaches in Britain, who has won admiration throughout the game for how he’s turned Rotherham Titans into one of the strongest teams outside of the Premiership.

“He has impressed knowledgeable onlookers by his attention to detail, enthusiasm and professionalism and his proven ability to get the best out of the players he coaches.