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Cornish Pirates Coach Quits

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4:22pm 10th April 2012
(Updated 4:22pm 10th April 2012)

The Cornish Pirates' Head Coach is leaving.

High Performance Manager Chris Stirling is moving to New Zealand next week, after three years at the club.

Bosses have released this statement:

"This announcement about Chris is possibly one of the most difficult things I have had to write with respect to the Pirates over the last 20 years. I have mulled it over for the last few days on how to break the news that Chris is leaving us next week possibly never to return to lead our coaching team.

"Four months of soul searching by Chris and his family over his professional future in rugby has come to a conclusion with his decision to take up an excellent job offer from the New Zealand Rugby Union. Their gain is our loss. The Bedford game on Sunday will be his last in charge and he travels to New Zealand next Wednesday.

"The lack of clarity over the Pirates' future brought about by the vacillation on many fronts over a Stadium for Cornwall meaning we cannot plan for the future playing aspirations of our Club with certainty, allied to Chris living on the other side of the world apart from his family back in his home country, has culminated in this decision being made and frankly I fully agree with his decision. There must be life beyond the Pirates.

"Chris has overseen an incredible run of success at the Pirates. We will certainly prepare an article for the website recalling the last three years of success emanating from his role in the Club so here I will be brief.

"His modesty and temperament has been equaled by his incredible vision, foresight, knowledge and skilful man management despite tight budgets being in place such that we have all been able to enjoy moments that will remain in the memory long after Chris departs. Perhaps the most complete performance was winning the inaugural British & Irish Cup final when a fully prepared Cornish Pirates side surprised a lot of people and not least the visiting Munster team by winning 23-14 at a packed Camborne ground. It was an 80 minute display demonstrating how far the team had come in just one season under the guidance of Chris and his very professional back up team.

"The following season the two promotion play-off games (the two-legged final) against Worcester shown live on SKY ensured many of our squad again became targets for bigger clubs and the despite the fact that the Pirates could not achieve promotion the last 20 minutes at Worcester produced the most scintillating and exciting rugby that showed what we were capable of.

"His three year stint at the Pirates is unfinished business for all of us-we are going to lose players again this season that’s for sure but many of our key players remain in place and under the coaching of Ian Davies we have a pack now that is capable of many things going forward. Ian is taking over as head coach and will be assisted by the backs coach Harvey Biljon and both of them no doubt will maintain the fully professional approach that runs throughout the Pirates squad nowadays.

"Perhaps one day we will see Chris back with us - I certainly hope so. His new role as High Performance Talent Identification Manager for the NZRU where he will manage both the selectors network and 14 academies will keep him busy-let’s hope some of that talent is qualified to spend some time with a lowly Cornish club that he knows well.

"Go well Chris and no doubt I speak for all knowledgeable Pirates supporters when I say you have a place forever in our history and in our hearts".

Dicky Evans

4:22pm 10th April 2012

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