Ford re­places Dominguez in Toulon driv­ing seat

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

TOULON: Toulon yes­ter­day ap­pointed English­man Mike Ford as coach in place of the sacked Diego Dominguez, the Top 14 club’s owner Mourad Boud­jel­lal an­nounced.

Ford, re­leased by English Pre­mier­ship side Bath in May, joined Toulon as backs coach in Septem­ber when he vowed to take the mis-fir­ing giants to the “next level”.

Boud­jel­lal told a press con­fer­ence the de­ci­sion to dis­pense with Dominguez had “not been an easy one to take”. Dominguez was only ap­pointed in the sum­mer to suc­ceed Bernard La­porte, who guided Toulon to three Euro­pean Cups and a French ti­tle in a hugely suc­cess­ful five-year spell.

For­mer Italy in­ter­na­tional Dominguez leaves af­ter four wins, three de­feats and one draw with Toulon placed fourth in the Top 14 and sec­ond in their Cham­pi­ons Cup group.

“We had a dis­agree­ment, this is some­thing that happens,” Boud­jel­lal ex­plained whilst un­der­lin­ing his “es­teem” for Dominguez. “Diego is first and fore­most my per­sonal fail­ure be­cause it was me who chose him. I ac­cept that,” said the French ty­coon who made his for­tune through comic book pub­lish­ing.

The two men will meet this week to dis­cuss the terms of the rup­ture. Toulon’s colour­ful and out­spo­ken owner added: “We are go­ing to try to set up a sys­tem of play­ing that ev­ery­one will fol­low.

“None of the play­ers called for Diego’s head, but I wasn’t happy with what I was see­ing. “If I were a Toulon fan, I wouldn’t feel like buy­ing a ticket to come to the sta­dium.”

The 50-year-old Ford, who ar­rived at Toulon as suc­ces­sor to for­mer backs coach Steve Mee­han, has been given a sea­son­long con­tract. His first game in charge is Satur­day’s Top 14 clash against Greno­ble at the Stade Mayol.

A for­mer Ire­land and Eng­land backs coach and boss of Sara­cens, Ford will com­bine his new role with his pre­vi­ous po­si­tion as Toulon’s backs coach. Boud­jel­lal’s de­ci­sion to switch man­agers comes as he is in ad­vanced talks to sell the club he has bankrolled to the Euro­pean ti­tle three times and the French cham­pi­onship in 2014 dur­ing his 10 years at the helm. The club is set to be bought by a French film pro­ducer-Gerard Bar­baand Lu­cien Si­mon, a lawyer and po­ten­tial new club pres­i­dent. —AFP

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