EXCLUSIVE Richard Cockerill set to edge out Eddie Jones to take over as Georgia head coach… as he prepares to replace Levan Maisashvili after the Lelos failed to win a game at the World Cup
- Levan Maisashvili left his role as Georgia head coach after a poor World Cup
- Several candidates were in the running to replace him, including Eddie Jones
- But former England forwards coach Richard Cockerill is expected to take over
Richard Cockerill is set to beat his former England boss Eddie Jones to the Georgia head coach position after his shock departure from Montpellier.
Cockerill is in the Georgian capital Tbilisi this weekend to finalise negotiations to succeed Levan Maisashvili as the man in charge of the Lelos.
He will also take in the historic European Challenge Cup match between Georgia’s domestic side Black Lion and English side Gloucester on Saturday.
After his controversial departure from Australia, Jones was of interest to Georgia but he remains likely to return to Japan and take over from Jamie Joseph.
Georgia Rugby president Ioseb Tkemaladze said: ‘We discussed almost every possible candidate. Whether it was Eddie Jones or others, we talked to almost everyone.
Former hooker Richard Cockerill is set to beat Eddie Jones to the Georgia head coach position
The pair worked together in Jones’ time with England when Cockerill was the forwards coach
‘Richard is coming to have closer talks. We still have to agree on micro-details with him and hopefully we will be able to do that. We are close to reaching an agreement.
‘If we agree, he will receive a long-term offer. The contract will be four years.’
After working under Jones and his successor Steve Borthwick with England, ex-Leicester hooker Cockerill joined Montpellier.
But he was dramatically sacked by the struggling French side last month when Bernard Laporte was parachuted in as director of rugby to alleviate the team’s poor form.
Georgia have moved quickly to secure his services and it is understood an official announcement will come soon once the legalities around Cockerill’s Montpellier departure have been sealed.
Joe Schmidt was another experienced figure linked with Georgia but the country’s rugby powers feel Cockerill is the best fit for an ambitious rugby nation.
Jones – who left Australia after their dreadful World Cup – is likely have another spell with Japan
Georgia split with former coach Levan Maisashvili after they went winless at the World Cup
Maisashvili departed his role as head coach after this year’s World Cup where Georgia failed to win a match.
Black Lion’s game with Gloucester will be the first time a Georgian club side has competed in a major European tournament.
As part of his role in charge of the Georgia national team, Cockerill will also work closely with Black Lion to ensure the country’s rugby pathway system operates effectively.
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