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London Irish dispute Skivington’s Gloucester switch

Gloucester announced appointment of Skivington as their new head coach earlier on Saturday

By Tony Tighe

Last Updated: 27/06/20 11:17pm

London Irish say George Skivington is under contract until 2021

London Irish say George Skivington is under contract until 2021

London Irish say George Skivington is under contract until 2021

London Irish say they received no approach from Gloucester to speak to their forwards coach George Skivington and are considering their options.

Gloucester announced the appointment of Exiles forwards coach Skivington as their new head coach earlier on Saturday, with the 37-year-old due to begin his new role on July 3.

However, London Irish say Skivington, who became their forwards coach after he retired from playing in 2016, remains under contract until June 2021 and believe Gloucester have breached Premiership Rugby protocols.

Irish chief executive Brian Facer said: “To say we are disappointed with Gloucester’s announcement is an understatement.

“George is well liked and respected at Hazelwood, and it is understandable that we would not want to lose him, especially so close to the resumption of play after the lockdown.

“We also know that he is an ambitious young man who would relish the opportunity of being the head coach of a club someday.

“However, the protocols are clear that a club must be approached in writing when there are more than six months remaining on the relevant contract, regardless of whether it is a player or coach.

George Skivington spent four seasons as a player with London Irish before retiring and joining their coaching staff in 2016 George Skivington spent four seasons as a player with London Irish before retiring and joining their coaching staff in 2016

George Skivington spent four seasons as a player with London Irish before retiring and joining their coaching staff in 2016

“George is under contract with London Irish until June 2021 and has not served us with the required notice period, nor have the terms of his contract been breached.

“More importantly, at no point have we received any proactive communication whatsoever from Gloucester.

“We therefore believe that Gloucester have breached the Premiership Rugby Code of Conduct regarding inducement and approaches to a contracted player, member of coaching staff and other contracted person.

“This is a most serious issue so, accordingly, we are reserving our rights to consider all our options under the Premiership Rugby governance protocols and other avenues of redress.”

Sky Sports News has attempted to contact Gloucester for comment.

Skivington impressed by Gloucester vision

Former Wasps and Leicester Tigers lock Skivington was announced as the successor to Johan Ackermann, who stood down as Gloucester head coach last month to take a coaching role at Japanese Top League side NTT DoCoMo Red Hurricanes.

Skivington said: “I’ve been very impressed with everyone I’ve met at the club so far, and the vision they have for the club.

“What I particularly liked was how far-reaching the vision is, building from the academy, through the first team, and across the whole club. I can’t wait to play my part in it.

“When I was playing, Gloucester was one of a couple of clubs that you never fancied visiting. We want to bring that feeling back to Kingsholm.”

Gloucester fly-half Danny Cipriani voiced his approval of Skivington’s appointment, tweeting: “This is the most exciting announcement of a head coach I’ve seen in rugby, foreword (sic) thinking.

“The type of man you build a club around. Very grateful I’ll get to play out my last years under him.”

Gloucester are in the process of overhauling their hierarchy, with David Humphreys stepping aside as the club’s director of rugby.

Gloucester sit ninth in the Premiership table with four wins from 13 games Gloucester sit ninth in the Premiership table with four wins from 13 games

Gloucester sit ninth in the Premiership table with four wins from 13 games

They will not appoint a replacement, with Alex Brown placed in charge of recruitment after being promoted to the position of chief operating officer.

“I’ve had a look at the playing squad, and there are some really great players in there,” said Skivington.

“It doesn’t need rebuilding, but there are obviously one or two areas that need some work.

“When Gloucester has been successful it’s always been built on having a formidable pack. We need make sure we have a pack that has the kind of reputation that it used to have.

“When we do that, with the skill and pace of the backs we have at the club, we’re going to start getting the results we want again.”

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