All change at Melton RFC as Collins takes Leicester Lions post

Gareth Collins won two championships, two county cups and oversaw a three-season stay at Midlands One in his five years at Melton EMN-190904-154240002
Gareth Collins won two championships, two county cups and oversaw a three-season stay at Midlands One in his five years at Melton EMN-190904-154240002
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Head coach Gareth Collins’ will take charge of his final league match for Melton RFC First XV this weekend after being headhunted for a new post.

Collins has overseen the club’s most successful period in league rugby, winning two promotions, in his five-year spell at the helm, but has been tempted back to his former club Leicester Lions.

The former Leicester Tigers academy graduate also helped Melton to lift the Senior County Cup for the first time in the club’s history in 2016 on a memorable night, and led the club’s successful defence the following season.

Club spokesman said: “Gareth has been offered an opportunity to coach at a more senior level and expand his rugby career, therefore we would like to say a big thank-you for the five years’ commitment and all at Melton Rugby wish him well.

“This period was one of the best in our history, seeing two league wins and two county cup final wins at Welford Road which is a testament to his and the players’ ability and determination.”

Collins has been offered a coaching role at the National League Two side, where he played for 10 years, but will take charge of Melton’s final Midlands One East match this Saturday against another of his former clubs, Rugby Lions.

His final game will either come the following Saturday when the Firsts travel to Oadby Wyggs for a county cup semi-final, or a big farewell in the final itself at Welford Road.

Like Collins’ appointment back in 2013, Melton have once again recruited from a higher level, with Mike Halford moving from his coaching role at National League Two club South Leicester to take charge at Burton Road this summer.

Halford has played Premiership rugby with Leicester and Wasps, and also has England Under 19s and Under 21s experience on his playing CV.

The Melton RFC spokesman added: “He is very excited about the opportunity and will bring talent and new opportunities.”