Harlequins confirm England defence coach Paul Gustard to become their new head of rugby

21 May
Harlequins confirm England defence coach Paul Gustard to become their new head of rugby
Paul Gustard is the new Harlequins head coach

Harlequins have confirmed Paul Gustard will be their new head of rugby.

The 42-year-old will leave his role as defence coach of England after the upcoming tour of South Africa to take charge of the Premiership club.

He will replace John Kingston, who revealed in April that he would be leaving Quins at the end of the season.

“Opportunities like this don’t come along very often,” Gustard said. “To be given the chance to lead a club as rich in talent, heritage and support as Harlequins is hugely exciting.”

Gustard has been a key part of Eddie Jones’ England staff since the start of 2016.

The former Saracens assistant coach has helped England clinch the Grand Slam, back-to-back Six Nations titles and a first ever series win in Australia.

His contract with the national team was due to expire after the 2019 Rugby World Cup but the RFU have granted him an early release.

“I am a proud Englishman and it has been a privilege to represent my country and work under Eddie,” added Gustard.

“There have been some incredible memories which I will cherish, and I will look back proudly on my contribution with England. I am desperate for England to do well as we push on to World Cup glory next year.

“My relationship with Eddie is strong and positive. He has supported me in accepting this new role and I will continue to have a strong relationship with him on our tour to South Africa and beyond.”

Harlequins finished 10th in the Premiership after winning just seven of their 22 matches.

Former Saracens assistant coach Gustard’s appointment at Quins sees the club split the previous director of rugby position into two new roles – head of rugby and general manager (rugby).

Gustard will oversee the day-to-day coaching of Quins’ rugby squads, the club said, and will work alongside the new general manager (rugby), who will be appointed “in due course”.

“We were determined to recruit a coach with a proven track record in delivering a winning team and environment, and we have done that,” said Harlequins’ chief executive David Ellis.

“Paul has extensive experience at the highest levels with Saracens and England and is one of the most respected coaches in world rugby.

“Over the last two years, he has won trophies and titles with England and, of course, he knows the Premiership very well, having been an integral part of Saracens’ recent successes.  We are confident that Paul is the ideal coach to take the Club forward.

“We are very grateful to the RFU for its support and co-operation in releasing Paul early from his contract with England. Harlequins prides itself on being a supplier of talent to the national team and this move will hopefully enhance that already excellent relationship.”