Castres announced on Monday they had sacked head coach Pierre-Henry Broncan and replaced him with ex-British and Irish Lions lock Jeremy Davidson despite them finishing runners-up in the French Top 14 last season.
Broncan, 48, had spent time at Toulouse and Bath and took over in December 2020 before the five-time champions lost to Montpellier in June’s final.
Their fortunes have changed this season and they sit in 11th position, two points away from the relegation play-off place, with just two wins from their last 10 games in all competitions.
The run included Saturday’s loss to Champions Cup holders La Rochelle, a first home defeat in the league during Broncan’s tenure at Stade Pierre-Fabre – their first home defeat in the Top 14 since December 2020, a run of 789 days.
“The worrying situation of the club, after the defeat to La Rochelle, the reoccurring shortcomings in our play currently and some internal difficulties have led us to make a change,” club president Pierre-Yves Revol said.
“Pierre-Henry Broncan had a remarkable journey with our club,” Revol added.
Former Ireland second row Davidson was fired by bottom of the table Brive in December and returns to Castres where he spent three years as a player and two seasons as defence coach.
Davidson, 48, will take his new side to in-form Bayonne on Saturday in his first game in charge.