Guinness Premiership
Meyer not returning to Tigers?
January 4, 2009
Leicester Tigers head coach Heyneke Meyer pictured during the English Premiership match between Gloucester and Leicester Tigers at Kingsholm in Gloucester, England on September 7, 2008.
Heyneke Meyer returned to South Africa this week after learning of a family illness © Getty Images

Leicester Tigers could soon be facing up to life without their Head Coach Heyneke Meyer, who flew back to South Africa this week to deal with a family illness.

Leicester chairman Peter Tom admitted that the problems had placed doubt over Meyer's future with the Tigers. "Both of Heyneke's wife's parents are seriously ill, and he has gone back to assess the whole situation," said Tom. "We are happy to give him all the time he needs, and I don't think you can speculate.

"At the end of the day, we accept the family is priority, and the best thing is that Heyneke supports his family."

Assistant coach Richard Cockerill has assumed charge during Meyer's absence, including for Sunday's Premiership win over Bath, and now looks likely to take charge for the remainder of January, including a Heineken Cup trip to the Ospreys and a derby fixture with Northampton next week.

"At this time Heyneke needs our support as a club. He's got some issues to deal with at home and we wish him all the best and hope he's back with us very soon," Cockerill told BBC Sport. "He didn't leave until Tuesday evening, so he's planned this whole week's training, he's picked the team, he's done all the tactics and he's been on the phone ever since.

"It's not an issue from a rugby point of view and we'll just get on with business as usual. Heyneke's made a massive impression here and we want him here for the long term. He's a world-class coach and need that continuity within the club."


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