England defence coach Paul Gustard insists the opportunity to take the reins at Premiership side Harlequins as their new head of rugby was an offer he could not refuse.
Gustard was confirmed as the successor to John Kingston in the Harlequins hotseat yesterday and will take up his position after the conclusion of England’s three-Test tour of South Africa next month.
“I just couldn’t turn this opportunity down,” said Gustard. “I am a proud Englishman and it has been a privilege to represent my country and work under Eddie [Jones].
“He has supported me in accepting this new role and I will continue to have a strong relationship with him. However, I am now ready to lead a team and I am thrilled to have this chance at one of the Premiership’s biggest clubs.”
Quins’ appointment of former Saracens assistant coach Gustard, 42, leaves England boss Jones without a defence or attack coach 15 months out from the World Cup. Jones, however, has backed the move.
“I wish Gussy all the best at Quins,” said Jones.
“He is a talented young English coach and a very good choice for the role. He has made a big contribution to the England coaching team and I’m happy that he has the opportunity to develop and prove himself in a head coach role.”