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Gloucestershire Business News

Gloucester surprised by London Irish response to new coach

Gloucester Rugby say they are "surprised and disappointed" by the reaction of Premiership rivals London Irish to the appointment of George Skivington as head coach at Kingsholm.

Gloucester announced Skivington's appointment on Saturday, replacing Johan Ackermann who left to join Red Hurricanes in Japan last month.

But London Irish said no approach was made for their forwards coach, issuing a statement saying they would "consider all options".

A Gloucester club statement said: "Gloucester Rugby openly advertised its head coach role in the usual way. George Skivington was the standout candidate following that process."

"Gloucester Rugby understood that Skivington was not restricted contractually from joining the club. Gloucester Rugby, nevertheless, directly and straightforwardly sought clarification of London Irish's position. That clarification has not been forthcoming.

"Gloucester Rugby is therefore surprised and disappointed by both the contents of statement from London Irish, and the forum in which it was released, not least in view of the proactive efforts made by Gloucester Rugby during the course of this week.

"Gloucester Rugby will continue to seek to engage with London Irish, through the appropriate channels. Gloucester Rugby urges London Irish to do the same."

Former Wasps, Leicester and London Irish Skivington captained England's second strong Saxons team and has coached with Samoa.

He said: "I've been very impressed with everyone I've met at the club and the vision that have.

"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.

Chief executive Lance Bradley described Skivington as "one of the new generation of highly-talented young English coaches."

He said: "He was our clear first choice among the many who applied for the position.

"He has signed a long-term contract and we look forward to working with him to deliver the vision we have for our club."

Gloucester have also promoted Alex Brown to chief operating officer, taking on many rugby-related responsibilities such as recruitment with the departure of David Humphreys as director of rugby.

The former Cherry and Whites lock has been in the role of commercial director having previously been team manager.

The appointments follow the departures of Tom Marshall, World Cup winner Franco Mostert and Franco Marais to join Ackermann in Japan.

But hooker James Hanson, lock Alex Craig and flanker Lewis Ludlow have signed new contracts with returning England wing Jonny May agreeing an extension of his deal after rejoining from Leicester.

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