Life After Diprose
March 11 2019
Last week Harlequins announced that their long-serving Academy and Global Development Director Tony Dirpose would be leaving the club when his contract expires at the end of this season, having been at Quins either as a player or a coach for the last 18 years.
Diprose began his career at Harlequins as a player back in 2001, going on to make 123 first-team appearances for the club before moving into coaching and then directing the academy.
During that time, he has had an immeasurable influence on the club, perhaps most notably as a coach helping Dean Richards and Conor O’Shea deliver the most successful period in Harlequins professional history, winning the Amlin Challenge Cup in 2011, the Aviva Premiership in 2012 and the LV Cup in 2013.
In his time as a director, Diprose has been instrumental in the Harlequins Academy churning out graduates that have made the British & Irish Lions, as well as Olympians and internationals. He also been crucial to the development of the elite Harlequins Ladies programme.
So, after almost two decades of service, how will Harlequins cope with his departure?
After a good run of form, Quins sit comfortably in the Premiership but are outsiders to lift the title with bookies Ladbrokes offering odds of 20-1. This may well be worth a few pennies especially given that there are plenty of enhanced odds and online betting offers available on this market.
Quins are odds on to make the play-offs, with bookmakers William Hill and 888sport offering odds of 1-5. This looks a pretty safe bet and the prospect of Dirpose being able to leave on a high this summer remains a very real one.
The impact of losing Diprose may not be seen immediately next year, but you’d have to think that were Harlequins not able to fill his role with an adequate replacement soon, then perhaps from the second half of next season onwards there would be something of a void.
After all, Diprose has overseen the development of a number of key academy graduates, a number of who currently populate the Harlequins forward pack. Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler, Jack Clifford, James Chisolm and Will Collier have come through during Dirpose’s time at the head of the academy.
There are also a number of developing talents in the Harlequins backline. Marcus Smith, Cadan Murley, Joe Marchant and Gabs Ibitoye have all been aided in their growth as players by Diprose. Without a similar figure to nurture talent, these young players may cease to break through.
The former number 8 will leave behind a considerable legacy at Quins, as well as some colossal shoes that the club will need to fill.
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