Rugby League Deutschland has pulled off a major coup with the appointment of former Great Britain international Andy Hay as their new performance director.
Hay appeared in over 350 club matches in the United Kingdom and, in a glittering career, won the prestigious Challenge Cup in 1999 while playing with the Leeds Rhinos.
After retiring as a player in the mid-2000s, he moved into coaching with Castleford Tigers and also held posts at Super League clubs Hull FC and Salford Red Devils. Hay ended his stint in the UK as head coach of Championship side Featherstone Rovers.
Most recently, he led the coaching and development department at Auckland Rugby League, New Zealand’s largest rugby league district, where he initiated several successful concepts including ‘Region of Origin’ and the development of a non-contact version of rugby league, ‘Kiwi Tag’, which has since been adopted by the New Zealand Rugby League and rolled out nationally, before moving to Germany last December.
Hay noted that at the centre of his immediate goals in the new role will be ensuring Germany is well positioned to secure qualification to the 2025 Rugby League World Cup.
“I will be utilising all of my experience to help grow the game here,” he said. “The foundations that have been put in place – coupled with the ambition of Bob Doughton, president of Germany Rugby League – provides a solid group of players and coaches to work with. Once the full lifting of Covid-19 restrictions allow, we will be looking to grow their knowledge of the game and develop them as a group.
“There are a few international games planned for the end of this year and it will be a great opportunity for me to get a baseline of what we have going forward.”
Germany RL are looking to get back into action this Saturday, August 28 with the domestic Cooper Cup, which will be the first opportunity for players to gain selection for the inaugural ‘German Origin’ featuring North versus South, on Saturday 18 September.
All of the players involved in that match will be chasing selection for the national team in their annual Griffin Cup clash against Netherlands on Saturday 2 October in Dusseldorf.
Commenting on the appointment of Andy Hay, RLD president Bob Doughton noted: “I know from the extensive discussions I’ve had with Andy that he is going to contribute enormously to our development as an organisation and to our on-field performances. We cannot believe our good fortune in having someone of Andy’s calibre join our team.