Neil Back resigns as Leeds head coach

Neil Back
Back's side were beaten 31-24 at Northampton in their final game

Leeds head coach Neil Back has resigned with immediate effect.

The former England and Leicester flanker had been due to meet Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington on Wednesday to review the season.

But the 42-year-old, who joined Leeds in June 2008 and led the team to safety last season, is leaving after the club finished bottom of the Premiership.

"I have thrived on the challenge, however, I feel I've taken Leeds as far as I can," said World Cup winner Back.

"The experiences over the last three years have been incredible in terms of my personal and coaching development.

"I am very proud of what Leeds Carnegie has achieved against the odds and I wish Leeds all the success for the future."

Back guided Leeds to promotion to the top flight in his first season in charge and followed that by keeping them in the Premiership last season.

However, a final-day defeat at the hands of Northampton consigned the Yorkshire side to bottom place on points difference this year.

Relegation has not been confirmed though and Leeds will get a reprieve if Cornish Pirates beat Worcester in the two-legged Championship final, on 11 and 18 May, because the Pirates' stadium in Penzance does not meet Premiership requirements.

Leeds chief Hetherington told BBC Radio Leeds: "Neil had a contract with us - he's had three years and for much of those three years it's been a successful time but last season has been a disappointing one.

"There was an option within the contract for either party to come out and Neil, having given it a lot of thought and taken advice from people he respects, felt that it was the right time for him to come out and probably the right time for the club as well.

"It's an opportunity for him to look at new challenges and I've no doubt at all that Neil will have a long career in coaching.

"It's also an opportunity for the club to look again at a strategy going forward. We're now facing up to life in the Championship - there was always going to be a restructuring of all our staff and those changes can made now in the knowledge that we will be bringing in a new head coach."

On bringing in a replacement for the World Cup winner, Hetherington said the club would not be rushing into a new appointment.

"Leeds is recognised as one of the top clubs in the country despite relegation, we've got so many natural advantages and it's a terrific place to come, so I think it'll be a very attractive job and we'll have a lot of interest in it.

"We won't be rushing into anything, there's no particular timescale on when an appointment will be made."

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