Codling in line to re­place Rown­tree at Quins

The Rugby Paper - - News - By JON NEW­COMBE

HARLEQUINS have made a move for Alex Codling as Gra­ham Rown­tree’s re­place­ment in a bid to re­vive their for­tunes and trans­form the low­es­tranked li­ne­out in the Premier­ship.

The Rugby Pa­per un­der­stands that a deal to take Codling to the Stoop has been com­pleted with the level of com­pen­sa­tion be­tween Quins and his cur­rent club Eal­ing the only out­stand­ing is­sue.

Codling was con­tracted to the am­bi­tious Cham­pi­onship out­fit un­til 2020 hav­ing signed a two-year ex­ten­sion in De­cem­ber last year. With DoR Ben Ward, the 44-year-old helped Trail­find­ers to a sec­ond­place fin­ish in the Cham­pi­onship as well as win­ning the B&I Cup.

Be­fore join­ing Eal­ing two sea­son ago, Codling had led a no­madic ex­is­tence hav­ing en­joyed coach­ing spells at Ross­lyn Park, Rother­ham, Lon­don Scot­tish, Barking and Ebbw Vale.

This will be the once-capped Eng­land lock’s first ven­ture into the top tier of club rugby as a coach.

“If the ru­mours are true, fair play to him,” said new Lon­don Ir­ish lock Bar­ney Mad­di­son, who was coached by Codling at Rother­ham and Eal­ing.

“He is be­ing recog­nised for how well we did as a team last year. There was a big li­ne­out and for­ward fo­cus at Eal­ing, and a lot of boys have gone on to join Premier­ship squads this year, and he had a big in­flu­ence on that.”

Quins en­dured a hugely dis­ap­point­ing cam­paign in 2017/18, fin­ish­ing a lowly 10th with just seven wins.

A li­ne­out suc­cess rate of just 85 per cent stymied their ef­forts and Codling’s rep­u­ta­tion as a mas­ter tac­ti­cian in this area made him a pri­or­ity sign­ing as Quins re­shape their back­room setup un­der new gen­eral man­ager Billy Mil­lard and in­com­ing head of rugby Paul Gus­tard.

As well as the de­par­tures of Rown­tree and DoR John Kingston, there are ques­tion marks over the fu­tures of Collin Os­borne and Nick Easter too.

Codling’s de­par­ture leaves Eal­ing with a big hole to fill and Do­rian West and James Buck­land are names in the frame.

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