Montpellier has announced the sacking of former England assistant coach Richard Cockerill with immediate effect.
Cockerill, who joined the French club in a sports manager position has now been removed from the role just seven games into the season in which they lost six matches and are languishing at the bottom of the table. The decision also follows after the Top 14 club's billionaire owner Mohed Altrad appointed former French Rugby Federation (FFR) president Bernard Laporte was appointed director of rugby.
Under Cockerill, the club started with a home win over back-to-back European champions La Rochelle on 20th August but since then have succumbed to six successive defeats.
“I really like Mohed, we are in regular contact,” Laporte told Midi Olympique.
“He asked me several times and I felt it was the right time. We agreed last week but the defeat against USAP precipitated everything. I couldn’t leave this club in difficulty. Last in the Top 14, is out of place.
“With Mohed, we decided to change everything. My mission will be to support him, to support the players, but first of all, to put together a new staff. That’s what I did this weekend. I won’t be on the pitch, I’m not going to coach. I’m not old enough for that anymore, especially since it’s been more than eight years since I’ve done it.
“A few days ago, a mutual friend put me in touch with Patrice Collazo. We hit it off. He will be the new general manager of the MHR, replacing Richard Cockerill. After that, I looked at the available technicians who were likely to come to Montpellier. That is why I called Vincent Etcheto this morning at length and he is on his way to Montpellier and along with Patrice.
“Christian Labit also gave me his agreement this Sunday morning, he will come to take care of the forwards with Antoine Battut – the club had obtained his signature a few days ago. I discovered that the four of them knew and liked each other. They want to work together and with me.
“Richard Cockerill and Jean-Baptiste Elissalde will not continue with us. They are no longer there. On the other hand, Jeremy Valls will continue to take care of the kicking game and Benson Stanley of the defence.”