David Mélé discusses his return to the club and why his new role is the "perfect fit" for the Frenchman in his first full-time coaching job, as well as working with Matt Smith and much more.
David Mélé says the opportunity to return to Leicester Tigers, where the Frenchman spent two seasons as a player, means “everything” to him.
Back in the East Midlands as a coach, working primarily with the club’s next generation of half-backs in the Tigers academy, Mélé also admitted the chance to work alongside close friend Matt Smith was one too good to turn down.
“I’m very happy to be back. It means everything,” said Mélé.
“I played two years here and it was the two years in my career I enjoyed the most.
“The chance to work with Smithy as well played a massive role, we did a lot together when I was here playing so I’m glad to be here with him again as well.”
The French-born, Spanish international had in fact originally agreed to continue his playing career in the USA with Austin Elite in the Major League Rugby competition but admitted, after weighing up his options, that the first step into a coaching career at Tigers was “perfect”.
“I had agreed to go to Austin, yes, and then the Leicester option came in,” he said.
“For my future it was perfect and I’m now able to make the transition into coaching and not having to wait for an opportunity later on at a club of this level.”
The chance to call Leicester home again also played a part.
“I would rather live here in Leicester than the coast of France … I absolutely love living in Leicester, living in England,” added the 33-year-old.
“It might be weird to say, as a French man who was living on the south coast of France, but it’s true.
“The people, the culture and the club itself is so special – I didn’t have to think too much about it.”
The role itself, working with the club’s half-backs and kickers, was also a major factor with Mélé describing the job as “exactly” what we saw himself doing when his playing days came to an end.
“That’s exactly what I wanted to do in my future, in charge of the half-backs and kicking,” he said.
“The chance to be with the academy and a bit with the seniors is perfect for me.
“When the time comes, you have to think about your future and your options - this was my best option.”
The former Tigers scrum-half has been in the role for a month now, working with members of the academy and senior squads, and believes there is a big challenge ahead, but is confident of a better showing than last season.
“There is a big challenge ahead for the club,” Mélé said.
“Everyone is excited to show people what this club is about. Last season was not Tigers and I know already this year it will be better.”