Toulon axe Mike Ford, Richard Cockerill to take charge

Mike Ford has been shown the door at Toulon. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Toulon have announced the departure of Mike Ford as head coach by mutual agreement, with Richard Cockerill taking charge of the first team.

Cockerill will be assisted by Marc Dal Maso, and Matt Giteau has agreed to coach the backs while continuing in his playing role.

The changes were confirmed on Tuesday morning on the club's website.

A brief statement read: "Toulon rugby club and Mike Ford have parted company by mutual agreement as of Monday April 3 2017.

"Richard Cockerill will take charge of the first team, assisted by Marc Dal Maso.

"Matt Giteau has agreed to lead the backs while continuing as a player."

Ford's departure comes after pressure began to mount following Toulon's 29-9 Champions Cup quarter-final defeat to Clermont Auvergne.

Toulon are preparing for an important Top 14 match against Toulouse in Marseille next weekend, and will do so without ex-Bath coach Ford -- who had been on a short-term contract.

Ex-France captain Fabien Galthie will take over as Toulon coach next summer.

It was anticipated that Ford might stay on in the interim, but instead former England hooker Cockerill will do so alongside forwards coach Dal Maso.