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Wheeler rejects 'player-power' claims over Dwyer sacking.

Peter Wheeler has dismissed suggestions that "player power" was responsible for Bob Dwyer losing his job as Leicester Tigers director of coaching.

Leicester sacked former Australia coach Dwyer and put Tigers legend Dean Richards in charge of first team affairs.

But Leicester chief executive Wheeler said: "The decision was made purely in the best interests of the club going forward.

"There was no element of player power which influenced the board's decision."

Dwyer and coach Duncan Hall were both sacked at a board meeting on Monday night and Richards is in charge until the end of the season.

Wheeler said: "The timing was instigated by the fact that the options on the contracts were up plus a run of results which were not favourable.

"In the next nine to 12 months there would have been a need to make a change and it was felt it perhaps ought to be made now."

Richards said: "To say I am honoured to be offered the job is an understatement. But Bob is going to be a difficult act for me to follow.

"Our aim has to be to win every game between now and the end of the season and I am hoping I won't be able to find a place for myself in the side."

England wing Austin Healey, who has been known to have disputes with Dwyer, said: "We had our differences of opinion, but it was not worth building grudges. People have different ideas about rugby. But Bob was an excellent coach."

Richard Cockerill, the abrasive hooker who returns for England against Wales, said: "I'm very surprised. I think Bob has done a very good job for the club but clearly the board have decided his future lies elsewhere.

"The players have got full confidence in the directors. They are shrewd and good businessmen and I am sure the club has got something lined up. We will just get on with playing and make sure the club is still successful."

Flanker Neil Back said: "I was shocked about Bob. Everyone associated with Leicester has huge respect for him, but he has limited experience as a coach."
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Feb 18, 1998
Words:357
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