Fox leaves the Lions den and is replaced by a World Cup star

It's all change at the helm of top city side Peterborough Lions.

Thursday, 27th April 2017, 8:06 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:46 pm
Darren Fox.

The National League Division Three outfit have waved goodbye to player/coach Darren Fox and replaced him with Tongan World Cup player Viliami Ma’asi.

Fox (36), who steered the Lions to top four finishes in each of his three seasons at the Bretton-based club, is moving up the English Clubs Championship ladder to join National League One club Cambridge as player/coach.

He said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Lions and am grateful to the chairman Andy Moore for giving me my first coaching job.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Viali Ma'asi.

“The Cambridge offer was one I couldn’t turn down if I’m to continue to progress as a coach and also it provides me with the chance to play again at a higher level before I hang my boots up.

“I want to test myself before I get too old.

“I’ve enjoyed improving players at the Lions and hope I’ve left them in a better position than when I joined them.”

Moore added: “Darren has been an excellent coach and brought a sense of professionalism to the playing side of our club. He woke us up to what was needed at our level and we wish him all the luck at Cambridge as he furthers his coaching career.

Viali Ma'asi.

“Our new player/coach Vili, like Darren, has an excellent pedigree. He is a big signing. We’re looking forward to a different style of play he will bring to the club and which will hopefully take us to the next level. He’s fully committed and we expect him to bring some top players to the club within the next week or so.”

Ma’asi (40) played for Tonga 36 times including participation in the 2003 World Cup and his career included playing 195 games in the English National Leagues for Yorkshire Carnegie, Cornish Pirates, London Welsh and for the last five seasons Ampthill, where he was also a coach.

Last May he helped East Midlands win a County Championship trophy at Twickenham.

He said: “I am very much looking forward to the new challenge and building on the solid foundations built at the Lions. I will be giving my all to ensure the environment we create for the players is an enjoyable one, based on trust, teamwork and hard work to enable our goals to be achieved next season.”

The Lions won their final game of the 2016-17 campaign 48-18 at Derby but had Fox red-carded in the second half for kneeing an opponent in the head.

He was suspended for last night’s East Midlands Cup final against Bedford Athletic.