Giteau gets coaching gig at Toulon

Matt Giteau will end his six-year stint with Toulon as the French club’s backs coach following the departure of Mike Ford.

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Head coach Ford left Toulon by mutual consent on Tuesday after only six months at the Top 14 heavyweights with fellow Englishman Richard Cockerill taking over until the end of the season.

Cockerill, who joined Toulon as assistant coach in January, will be assisted by former France hooker Marc dal Maso with Australian veteran Giteau to coach the backs while continuing to play.

Giteau will be in charge of a backline including compatriots Drew Mitchell, James O’Connor and Ben Barba as well as former All Blacks star Ma’a Nonu, South African legend Bryan Habana and Frenchmen Mathieu Bastareaud and Maxime Mermoz.

Giteau announced at the end of January that this season would be his last in France and he would be continuing his career in Japan.

Toulon said last month that former France scrumhalf and captain Fabien Galthie would take over as manager next season.

Ford, 51, had been given the job last October but failed to make an impact as Toulon were knocked out of the Champions Cup quarter-finals by Clermont last weekend.

Toulon have struggled since Bernard Laporte left the club last summer after leading them to three consecutive European titles from 2013-15.

Laporte was replaced by Diego Dominguez but the Argentinian was sacked after just a few weeks, with Ford taking over.

The former Bath boss fared little better than Dominguez, however, and he leaves Toulon fourth in the league, 23 points behind runaway leaders La Rochelle and only five points above 10th-placed Toulouse.

His one-year contract had an option for an additional season but Toulon had already said both parties had agreed not to take it up.