Leicester Tigers have been handed a boost ahead of the Heineken Cup after Richard Cockerill penned a new five-year contract with the club.
Following two spells as interim head coach, Cockerill was named director of rugby in 2008.
During his time at the helm the former hooker, who twice lifted the Heineken Cup as a player, has guided the Tigers to three Premiership titles and an LV=Cup title.
And he is determined to continue his success at Welford Road as the English giants embark on their latest European adventure.
"This club has been a huge part of my life for a long time now and it is a unique place in professional club rugby," said Cockerill.
"I am very passionate about the Tigers and in wanting to continue the club's success. We talk a lot with the players and staff about loyalty and commitment to the club, and that is something I feel strongly about too so I'm very happy to be able to agree a new contract here.
"Everyone here wants to be the best they can possibly be and we drive each other on. There is fantastic support for the team wherever we play, we have top-class players, a strong coaching team and very good backroom staff who all work very hard for the greater good of the club.
"This is a tough environment but it is one that brings out the best in its people."
Leicester face Ulster at Ravenhill on the opening round of Heineken cup action and also face Benetton Treviso and Montpellier in a tricky Pool Five.
And Tigers chairman Peter Tom was delighted to secure Cockerill's services for the long-term future to ensure stability through the club.
"Richard Cockerill is a key part of the Leicester Tigers and we're delighted he has agreed terms on a new long-term contract," said Tigers chairman Peter Tom.
"Cockers played for the club and is very much part of the Tigers family. He knows all about the Tigers culture and how to be successful here both as a player and a coach.
"Stability and continuity are extremely important in any successful organisation and, given the challenges of player availability, injury, selection, recruitment and the general ups and downs of professional sport, we see him as the man to continue to drive the team forward."
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.