Back joins Lions venture

Former Leeds Carnegie boss Neil Back has made an extraordinary drop down the rugby pyramid after agreeing a deal to become the head coach of Rugby Lions.

Despite being situated in the town where the sport was born, the Lions are minnows of the game and compete in the National League 3 Midlands division.

However, they are bankrolled by businessman Michael Aland, who has revealed a vision of turning the club into a Guinness Premiership outfit.

Back, who was born in Warwickshire, faces a severe drop in standards after agreeing to join the Lions, having left Leeds in May.

Sports betting pundits note how Back’s former side spent two seasons in the Premiership, but were relegated on the last day of the season after a dreadful campaign.

But with Rugby being close to his hometown of Coventry, the 66-cap former England international has insisted he is ready for the challenge and dismissed claims that his decision was purely a financial one.

“It’s a big call for me having coached in the Premiership and I have asked myself whether it’s a retrograde step given how ambitious I am,” he commented.

“But it’s not about money. Nor is this an easy option by any stretch of the imagination, which is why I asked for a five-year contract.

“I believe that turning around Rugby and getting the club to the Premiership would be a significant achievement and one I can use as a stepping stone to coaching at the very highest level.”

Chairman Aland is a former player himself and has blueprinted a 30,000 capacity stadium for the town as he bids to oversee the club’s rise to the top.

However, with a modest population of around 60,000 in the town with a further 30,000 across the borough, plans to fill that stadium may be difficult.

Rugby Union dedicates its name to the town, after William Webb Ellis famously ‘invented’ the sport by picking up a ball and running with it during a football match as Rugby School in 1823.

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