Richard Cockerill is on the shortlist to become Georgia’s head coach just days after being sacked by French club Montpellier

  • Richard Cockerill has been dramatically released by French club Montpellier
  • This came after Bernard Laporte was signed by club owner Mohed Altrad
  • Levan Maisashvili left his post as head coach after this year’s World Cup

Richard Cockerill is on a three-man list for the role of head coach of ambitious Georgia just days after his dramatic sacking by French club Montpellier.

Former Leicester and Edinburgh coach Cockerill left his role as England assistant to Steve Borthwick at the end of this year’s Six Nations and returned to France.

But his tenure as Montpellier coach came to a dramatic end at the weekend when he was sacked by Bernard Laporte, who had been brought in by owner Mohed Altrad.

Laporte was appointed owner director of Montpellier by his close friend Altrad, who almost immediately fired Cockerill from his position.

The former hooker just won seven games with Montpellier.

Richard Cockerill’s tenure as Montpellier coach came to a dramatic end at the weekend

But MailSport understands Cockerill could work together again soon and Georgia is interested in his services.

Reports from France on Tuesday suggested that Cockerill’s move to Georgia is a done deal, but the Lelos are still in the recruitment process to find a successor to Levan Maisashvili.

Former Georgia head coach Maisashvili left his post after this year’s World Cup but remains in a performance role with Georgia rugby union.

Cockerill and two other unknown candidates are expected to replace him, although it is not yet certain whether the former England international will take the job.

As things stand, there is no date set for a Georgia Rugby Board meeting to decide who gets the top rugby role.

But as a former front-row forward, Cockerill would be a good fit for Georgia, whose traditional strength lies in its pack, even if they have tried to develop their play behind the scrum.

Cockerill’s no-nonsense leadership style would probably be well received by the Lelos, too.

Laporte’s return to Montpellier was controversial.

The former French head coach and former Rugby World Cup vice-chairman resigned from his senior role at the French federation in January after being found guilty of favoritism in awarding a national team jersey sponsorship deal to Altrad. Laporte is appealing the verdict.

Montpellier, French champions in 2022, are currently in last place in the TOP14 table.

Former Georgia head coach Levan Maisashvili has resigned from his position after this year’s World Cup

Rene Bouscatel, president of France’s top league TOP14, said: “It is a question that only concerns the members of the club and Bernard.” It is their business. I respect him on a sporting level, but it’s their business. Under French law, you are innocent until proven guilty. We can think whatever we want, but that’s how it is.

“It’s a difficult issue if we look at it on a human level.” But until he is charged or proven guilty, he can do whatever he wants. Since I am a lawyer, I know that it is innocent until proven guilty.

“We can’t stop him (Laporte) from moving on with his life.” For me it’s very good.

“It’s a decision that Montpellier has made.” It’s very good that someone with Bernard’s skills and experience is coming to the club. It’s a club problem. “Everyone makes their own decisions.” Georgia Rugby has also received a further boost by signing a three-year marketing partnership with European Professional Club Rugby.