Harlequins have begun their search for a new women's head coach after the club announced Gary Street and Karen Findlay will no longer lead the Premier 15s outfit.
Street, who is one of the most respected coaches in women’s rugby having guided England to the World Cup glory in 2014, will take up a role at Harlequins’ Academy. He has spent the past four years at the helm of Harlequins' women's programme as a co-head coach alongside Findlay, who will continue to support the club's women's set-up as a forwards coach.
Under the pair’s stewardship, Harlequins have reached the past two finals in the Premier 15s, England’s top-flight women’s rugby union competition, where the club has twice fallen to reigning champions Saracens.
The duo also oversaw the Harlequins' cup and league double during the 2016-17 season in the old Women’s Premiership before the inception of the Premier 15s in 2017.
“It’s been a privilege, a brilliant time really,” said Street. “I think that Quins’ dream to be at the forefront of women’s rugby and women’s sport was the thing that brought me to the club. It is fantastic how driven the CEOs, the whole board and everyone at the club was to be part of the new Tyrells Premiership and the way women’s rugby was going at that time.
“I’m really proud of where the club has gotten to in terms of the international mix of players we have, the off-field structure, the amount of England players and being able to work with Rachael Burford again has just been amazing. I’ve been working with Burf [Burford] for 20 years now.”
Under Street’s and Findlay’s tenure, Harlequins have established themselves as one of the leading beacons of equality in women’s club rugby, having aligned its women’s set-up closely to its men’s programme.
The club’s annual ‘Game Changer’ festival has twice broken the record for a Premier 15s crowd attendance, while its women’s side were included in the club’s ‘Big Game’ event at Twickenham last December for the first time, when their victory over Irish domestic champions Leinster was watched by 7,500-strong crowd.
Street added: “I won’t be departing completely and will probably still be in my same favourite chair at work. I am sure I will still be doing a little bit of work, some interactions with the women’s side and the new head coach.
“I’m really proud to be moving on when the club is in a really strong place. I am looking forward to watching them from the stands with a bit less pressure on my shoulders next year.”