Neil Back quits as Leeds Carnegie head coach
Neil Back steps down as head coach of Yorkshire club with immediate effect after disappointing season
Leeds Carnegie have confirmed that head coach Neil Back will leave the club with immediate effect after finishing bottom of the Aviva Premiership.
The club face relegation but could still escape Championship rugby should the Cornish Pirates overcome Worcester in the two-legged play-off final, but the Leeds board said it was preparing for the worst.
The 42-year-old former England international flanker told the club’s website: “The experiences over the last three years have been incredible in terms of my personal and coaching development.
“I am very passionate about what I do and I have thrived on the challenge over the past three years, however taking all things into account, I feel I have taken Leeds as far as I can.
“I am very proud of what Leeds Carnegie has achieved over the last three years against the odds and I wish Leeds all the success for the future.”
Leeds almost pulled off a miracle on Saturday as they narrowly lost to Northampton Saints 31-24.
The losing bonus point was not enough to lift them off the bottom as Newcastle finished with a superior points difference.
Back informed chief executive Gary Hetherington on Monday night of his decision to step down.
Hetherington said: “Having met with Neil, he has informed me of his intention to move on at the end of the season to enable him to look for a new challenge.
“I would like to thank Neil for all his efforts during the past three years when he has helped move the club forward into a stronger position.
“In his first season, we won promotion and last season we defied the odds to retain our place in the Premiership.
“However, this year we have fallen short by the smallest of margins on the final day of the season and that comes as a disappointment to all of us.”
Back, known for his illustrious playing career at Leicester Tigers, and in England, Lions and Babarians shirts, has been in charge of Leeds for three years.
In 2008 he and director of rugby Andy Key led the club to promotion with a record 23 consecutive wins, losing only two games away from home.
Last season Leeds finished tenth in the Premiership to secure their top-flight status, however Back was unable to repeat such exploits this term.
Hetherington added: “We will go into the Championship aiming to bounce back at the first opportunity but realise the challenge that is in front of us.”