Chris Stirling returns to Cornish Pirates as director of rugby

Gavin Cattle, Chris Stirling and Alan Paver
Chris Stirling did some mentoring of current coaches Gavin Cattle (left) and Alan Paver (right) in 2016

Chris Stirling is to return to the Cornish Pirates as director of rugby.

The 56-year-old New Zealander is leaving Yorkshire Carnegie at the end of the season and will oversee current coaches Alan Paver and Gavin Cattle.

Stirling was Pirates' high performance manager from 2009 to 2012 before returning to his homeland to work with the New Zealand Rugby Football Union.

He then worked with Super Rugby side Hurricanes before joining Yorkshire as director of rugby in March 2018.

Stirling, who has agreed a three-year deal, took the Pirates to the Championship play-off final in 2011 before losing to Worcester, but the club won the British and Irish Cup in 2010 under his leadership.

"When it became clear that Chris would become available, the coaches and myself agreed that, as a matter of priority, we should look at Chris to become our new director of rugby - a position we have been looking at for some time," said Pirates director Dicky Evans.

"As many of our supporters know, when Chris was with us before we enjoyed a brilliant period of success, so he now returns to the Pirates with unfinished business.

"We now have the opportunity to play at our new stadium within a couple of years and consequently Chris is on board to participate in a three-year programme to hopefully win our league and who knows where that will take us.

"It will take an immense amount of effort and planning to get into that position we all have wanted for many years, to play for a place in the Premiership."

Stirling left the club seven years ago because, in part, to uncertainty over the future and whether or not they would be playing at a new ground that would meet Premiership standards.

"My prior time in Cornwall with the Cornish Pirates was a key factor in both my coaching and personal development," Stirling said.

"It is with great excitement that I return to the Mennaye to rekindle my working relationship with Gavin, Alan and all involved at the Pirates.

"As director of rugby my objective is to assist with taking the Cornish Pirates to the next level of performance."

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