Leeds Carnegie have announced that former player and Academy Manager Diccon Edwards, 38, has agreed to join the club as the Yorkshire side’s new Head Coach on a three year contract.
Edwards, who will succeed Neil Back, re-joins the club from the RFU where he held the position of National Academy Coach and England U20 Assistant Coach. He will officially take his new role with Leeds Carnegie on 1st July after the conclusion of his commitments with the RFU which includes the IRB Junior World Championships in Italy, which begins next week.
Prior to his appointment at Twickenham a year ago, he had built up a reputation within the game for developing and nurturing some of the country’s best young talent as Academy Manager at Leeds Carnegie. During his time as Academy Manager at Leeds from 2006, when he succeeded Stuart Lancaster in the role, until last year, he produced a dozens of players for the first team squad and led the club’s U19 team to Yorkshire Cup success.
Commenting on the appointment, Leeds Rugby Chief Executive Gary Hetherington commented, “We are delighted to announce that Diccon Edwards has agreed to rejoin the club. When Diccon left us to join the RFU last year, we always knew the qualities that he possessed and it is particularly pleasing that we have been able to bring him home to Leeds Carnegie. I would like to thank the RFU for their co-operation as part of this process. Having had a chance to step away from our environment for the past twelve months, Diccon is able to come into the club with a fresh approach but with the added advantage that he knows our operation.
“Diccon has a tremendous track record of developing talented players and also knows the National Leagues from his time as Head Coach at Otley. The Board were impressed by his passion for club and his determination to get us back into the Aviva Premiership at the earliest possible opportunity and that is our goal for next season,” added Hetherington.
Edwards, who made 76 appearances for the club in four seasons and was an integral part of the side that climbed up from National Division Three, is equally pleased to be back at Headingley Carnegie. “Firstly, I would like to thank Rob Andrew, Stuart Lancaster, Kevin Bowring and everyone at the RFU for the opportunity to work within a world class organisation for the past year. I feel that I have developed a great deal in the last twelve months and I will always be grateful for the chance to work with the top players and coaches in this country. The achievement of helping the England U20s achieve a Grand Slam this season was a particular highlight for me.
“However, the chance to come back to my club and help return us to the top flight was too good to resist and I feel the timing is right for me as a coach. Having been part of the club as a player and coach for nearly 15 years, it has been disappointing to see the side relegated last season. We now have the chance of a fresh start and the opportunity to build a team that the supporters and the Yorkshire public can be proud of. As a club we always build our strengths around our core values and we will be looking to get back to those.
“I am also excited to be working with our young players again. Of the current first team squad, half of them came through the Academy during my time there and our job as coaches is to make sure that they maximize their potential this season,” added Edwards.
Edwards is an RFU Level 4 coach, was educated at Pocklington School, attained a BSc in Economics and Accountancy at Loughborough University and has spread his playing acumen as a centre around six clubs. He played for Wakefield club from 1992-94 and 2000-02, was also with Leicester Tigers (1994-96), Castleford Tigers RL (1996-97) and Leeds Carnegie (1997-2000) having first played at Selby RFC at the age of six.