RUGBY UNION : Gloucester and Corless part

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The Independent Online
Barrie Corless failed to work the miracle with Gloucester that he had with Northampton and yesterday paid the price when he left Kingsholm only 20 months into his five-year contract as their £40,000-a-year coaching director.

Corless's departure was said by the club to have been by mutual consent. His status as an outsider was deemed to be essential when he was appointed but has become an impossible burden at this most parochial of senior clubs when success did not follow.

Corless was capped as a centre when playing for Moseley and went on to be the Rugby Football Union's Midlands divisional technical officer before five years as coaching director of Northampton. Many - including Gloucester - have tried, but few have succeeded in replicating his pioneering achievements at Franklin's Gardens.

There, Corless was the first of his kind. Northampton were promoted to the First Division, reached the Cup final and became one of England's leading sides, a process that has not been maintained since his departure.

Gloucester's chairman, the former England lock Alan Brinn, said yesterday that for now no successor was being sought. But if it did happen, an insider such as the ex-Gloucester coach Keith Richardson, now coaching Harlequins, would stand a much better chance.

Corless is not the first such casualty - Colin McFadyean lasted less than a season in a similar post at Bristol - and his departure is evidence that paid managerial appointments are no less precarious than in other footballing codes.

In the meantime, Gloucester have appointed the team secretary, Mike Nicholls - a former club captain and hooker - as their chairman of selectors until at least the end of this season.