Launceston sack head coach Cliff Rainford and appoint Neil Bayliss

Relegation threatened Launceston have sacked head coach Cliff Rainford.

Prop Neil Bayliss will take over as interim director of rugby of the National League Two South club until the end of the season.

Rainford, who was due to leave the Cornish All Blacks at the end of the term, was dismissed after an emergency board meeting on Monday.

Launceston are one place and one point above the relegation zone having lost four of their last five games.

The run of defeats includes two losses at home, against Ampthill and Southend, having previously been unbeaten at Polson Bridge this season.

"Nobody likes to have to ask a proud man like Spike [Rainford] to walk away from his duties as head coach, but the board were unanimous in their decision to try a more pragmatic approach until the end of the season under Neil's stewardship," club secretary Simon Johnston told the club website. 

"Our recent run of results hasn't been good enough, especially during last weekend's home game against Southend [a 32-17 home loss], which lacked both direction and leadership."

Assistant coaches Tom Rawlings and Kieron Lewitt remain at the club, with Launceston now advertising for a permanent director of rugby or head coach.

"Neil's appointment is only until the end of the current campaign," added Johnston.

Former Moseley, Cheltenham and Cinderford tight-head prop Bayliss, who has made 96 appearances for Launceston, takes charge of his first game against relegation rivals Chinnor on Saturday.