Agar ready for Leeds challenge
Richard Agar says it was his duty to step into the breach following the surprise departure of Leeds Rhinos head coach David Furner.
The former Hull FC and Wakefield Trinity boss joined the Rhinos in a newly-created role of head of player and coach development in December but was drafted onto Furner’s coaching team in April when James Lowes left the club and now finds himself in overall charge.
Agar, 47, who revealed news of Furner’s exit came as “an absolute shock”, agreed to take temporary charge, starting with Saturday’s Coral Challenge Cup sixth-round tie at Bradford Bulls.
Leeds director of rugby Kevin Sinfield says the club will not rush to make a permanent appointment and Agar could remain in charge for the rest of the season, but the ex-France head coach says he is not thinking long term.
“Three weeks ago I was doing the job that I love, then Jimmy left quite suddenly and Dave, who is a good mate of mine, asked me to help him out,” said Agar, who fronted a joint press conference at Odsal with Bulls coach John Kear ahead of the cup tie.
Leeds Rhinos part company with Head Coach David Furner https://t.co/Tz9ACPclvY pic.twitter.com/RGNPEoP7KE
— Leeds Rhinos (@leedsrhinos) May 7, 2019
“The speed with which this has happened meant there was no back-up plan at this moment in time.
“As probably the most experienced coach left at the club, I feel it’s my duty to step into the role and try to stabilise things during what is a difficult period.
“There’s myself and Chev Walker, but it would be very difficult for Chev so early in his coaching career.
“I’ve just got to concentrate on this week. Long-term future and plans simply haven’t been discussed.
“I just want to do a really good job for however long it takes for Kevin and (chief executive) Gary (Hetherington) to work out what’s next.
IT is nearly time to welcome the top table...#RivalryReignited pic.twitter.com/BHANxiIN4J
— Bradford Bulls (@OfficialBullsRL) May 8, 2019
“Whatever role they see for me going forward, I do want to be a part of that.
“The club is going through a bit of a re-building phase, but I do think, with the quality of the talent of the juniors on the books, the club can very much become one of the dominant forces in the game.”
The former Featherstone Rovers, Dewsbury Rams and Widnes Vikings stand-off, who returned to Betfred Super League after a 12-month stint as the head of player pathways at NRL club St George Illawarra, has just two days to prepare Leeds for his first match in charge and does not plan to ring the changes for the derby clash.
“There’s been a fair bit of disruption this week, so I think it would be pretty foolish of me to come in and start changing everything we do on the back of two training sessions, one of which will be the team run,” Agar said.
“I think there’s a lot of good things in place within our team. The big thing for us is that we’ve got to be more consistent in defence.”