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Harlequins seek new rugby director after John Kingston’s departure announced

Quins are ninth in the Aviva Premiership, while they also made an early European exit.

Harlequins say the process to recruit a new director of rugby is “in hand” after announcing John Kingston’s departure by mutual agreement.

Kingston will leave the Aviva Premiership club at the end of this season, Quins said.

He was promoted from head coach to rugby director two years ago, succeeding Conor O’Shea who had left to take charge of the Italy national team.

Quins are currently ninth in the Premiership and were beaten 35-5 at home by bottom club London Irish on Saturday.

They have won just seven out of 19 league games this season, in addition to making a pool-stage exit from the European Champions Cup, finishing last in a group that also included Wasps, Ulster and La Rochelle.

Quins chief executive Dave Ellis said, in a club statement: “This season has been hugely frustrating and disappointing for everyone at Harlequins, and for none more so than John.

“With considerable regret, we have agreed that John should step down as director of rugby.

“John has much to be proud of during his time at The Stoop, most notably when, while head coach, the team won the Aviva Premiership, the Amlin Challenge Cup and the LV= Cup, as well as reaching two Heineken Cup quarter-finals.

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Happier times at Harlequins under John Kingston

“The club will not make any comment about the appointment of a new director of rugby until we are ready to do so.

“The process to recruit someone new who can take Harlequins to the very top of English and European rugby is in hand.”

Kingston added: “It is with a very heavy heart that I will be leaving Harlequins at the end of this season.

“I have been at Harlequins for 17 years in differing roles and have grown to love the club almost as if it were part of my family.

“The obstacles this season have been well-documented, and no one has been more disappointed by our results than me.

“In my opinion, this is the strongest squad ever assembled in all my time at Harlequins, and this leaves the club in a sound position to go forward.

“Nothing would give me more pleasure than to see the squad achieve in the near future what I deeply believe it can – winning trophies.”

Earlier on Monday, former Harlequins centre and England captain Will Carling gave his assessment following the London Irish loss.

Carling tweeted: “Really sad to get back from holiday and see the Quins score. Painfully obvious that some tough decisions have to be taken before key players start to leave & once down that road attracting great players becomes almost impossible…..”

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