Gary Hetherington reveals how many candidates were in the running for the Leeds Rhinos job and when Rohan Smith will arrive

Today, Leeds Rhinos announced their new head coach with Rohan Smith taking the reins at Headingley on a three-and-a-half year deal.

Much had been made of chief executive Gary Hetherington’s recent trip to Australia in a bid to find a new coach and he has now found his man.

But, Smith wasn’t the only candidate on that shortlist – in fact there were seven others.

“We ended up with a shortlist of eight across Australia and back at home,” Hetherington said.

“It was a very strong pool, some outstanding candidates, but in Rohan Smith we believe we have someone who ticks a lot of boxes.

“He has experience as a coach and running a rugby operation as well as enjoying significant success, but he’s also a coach educator and comes with the highest of recommendations.”

Hetherington believes that Smith is ‘outstanding’ and will take Leeds forward.

“I think Rohan is an outstanding candidate because it was a pretty tough criteria at the outset.

“I said it would be an exhaustive process and the candidate needed to work at the highest level whether that’s in Super League or the NRL and have head coach experience and a track record of success.

“That ruled quite a number of people out, but quite a number of applicants created a very strong pool from which to select from.”

The Leeds chief also dismissed calls that Rohan isn’t a ‘big name’.

“What’s a big name? Big reputations don’t count for much in truth as you’ve got to weigh up and assess the job in hand.”

“We only approached people who were interested in the job, and there’s no concern at all as Rohan ticks many boxes and is very ambitious.

“He is very committed and has a real passion for the game and we see him being an intricate part of our club.

“It is a long term appointment – we have an outstanding crop of young players and he will be their mentor.”

Though Smith will not be available for this week’s game against Toulouse Olympique, he will be flying into Leeds next week.

“Te could be here next Friday when we play Hull KR which is an interesting one because Tony Smith will be coaching the Rovers.

“Jamie Jones-Buchanan and his staff will remain in charge for this Friday and next Friday too.”

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