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Stankovich to link up with Canada

Leicester Tigers scrum coach Boris Stankovich will join the Rugby Canada coaching staff ahead of this year's Pacific Nations Cup and Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Stankovich, who spent seven years in Leicester as a player before returning to the East Midlands in the role of scrum coach in January 2017, will return to his role with the club at the conclusion of Canada's Cup campaign.

The 39-year-old works on the set-piece throughout the ranks at Tigers in his role as scrum coach.

To be given the chance to participate in a Rugby World Cup so early on in my coaching career is a fantastic opportunity that will allow me to improve and return to Tigers a better coach

Boris Stankovich

In Stankovich’s absence, the experienced Mark Bakewell and senior development coach Brett Deacon will work with the scrum in addition to their existing roles on the set piece and with the Tigers forwards.

Stankovich will link up with Canada next week ahead of the 2019 Pacific Nations Cup and return to Leicester following the tournament before re-joining the Canadian side prior to the World Cup.

Speaking about his appointment to the Canadian national team, Stankovich said: “It is such an honour and privilege to have been asked by head coach Kingsley Jones along with the Canada Rugby Union to be a part of their coaching team for the 2019 Pacific Nations and World Cup.”

“None of this would have been possible had it not been for the support of the entire Leicester Tigers coaching team – in particular head coach Geordan Murphy.

“I’d also like to thank Tigers chairman Peter Tom, CEO Simon Cohen and Head of Performance Pathway and Talent Identification Ged Glynn for their support throughout.

“I look forward to the challenge that lies ahead in the coming weeks.

“To be given the chance to participate in a Rugby World Cup so early on in my coaching career is a fantastic opportunity that will allow me to improve and return to Tigers a better coach.”

Stankovich is the second member of the club's coaching and management team to be confirmed as travelling to this year's Rugby World Cup after the announcement last month that Tigers head of medical services Ed Hollis has linked up with Australia for The Rugby Championship until the conclusion of their Cup campaign in Japan.

Stankovich and Hollis' temporary appointments follow on from senior development coach Brett Deacon's continuing professional development (CPD) trip to New Zealand at the back-end of the 2018/19 season for successive weeks with Super Rugby teams the Highlanders and recent three-peat champions the Crusaders.

This is an amazing opportunity for Boris to develop and grow as a coach and what he learns while away will be invaluable knowledge for him to bring back to Tigers and improve us as a group

Geordan Murphy

In the playing ranks, Tigers academy graduates James Whitcombe and Sam Eveleigh are also in the Southern Hemisphere on exchange with Sydney University Football Club - who former Leicester players Pat Howard and Peter Betham have represented.

Speaking about the opportunity for Stankovich, Tigers head coach Geordan Murphy said: “This is an amazing opportunity for Boris to develop and grow as a coach and what he learns while away will be invaluable knowledge for him to bring back to Tigers and improve us as a group.”

“His commitment to his job and passion towards improving players for the betterment of the club is unquestionable, we’re extremely lucky to have someone like Boris at Tigers.

“Not having him around will of course leave a hole but, I’m extremely confident in the foundations he has built for both Mark [Bakewell] and Brett [Deacon] to build on while he is away.”

Tigers CEO Simon Cohen added: “This opportunity presents Boris a chance to go up against two of world rugby’s best teams, in the form of two two-time World Cup winners South Africa and New Zealand, which will be an invaluable experience.”

“We believe that the skills he will build on and experience he will have is something that will improve him as a coach, which the club will be better for when he returns to Leicester.

“It is not a decision we took lightly and one that we wouldn’t have made without the full backing of Geordan and the rest of the coaching team, who know the benefit it will provide him and the club as a whole and all encouraged us to allow Boris to have this experience.”

Canada begins their Pacific Nations Cup campaign away to the USA on July 27 in Glendale before back to back fixtures against Fiji and Tonga in Fiji in August.

Ahead of the World Cup, they will play the USA in a friendly on September 7 in Vancouver.

Stankovich and the Canadian side have been drawn alongside reigning champions New Zealand, two-time winners South Africa, Italy and Romania in Pool B in Japan.

Their campaign begins in Fukuoka, Japan on September 23 against Italy.