WILL Croker has left his role as Bournemouth director of rugby and first-team head coach, the Daily Echo can reveal.

The former Basingstoke boss, who guided Lions to promotion from South West Premier as runaway winners last season, did not take charge of today’s 39-14 defeat at Old Albanian.

Coach Jon Sanchez is understood to have taken the side for the encounter – Bournemouth’s fifth straight defeat since their return to the fourth tier of English rugby.

Croker took over as Bournemouth’s head coach in June 2015 after Craig White and Dan Connolly had left their roles at the Chapel Gate outfit.

He guided his side to 25 wins from 26 games last season and strolled to the league title at a canter by 27 points.

Lions were also named Rugby World team of the year in May, having sealed success under their former boss.