Former rugby union coach that took a gamble on switch to St Helens

Jason Strange is perhaps a name that isn’t that well known in rugby league.

But, the former rugby union coach and player – who plied his trade with Newport, Bristol, and Leeds as an outside-half in the 15-a-side game – is now St Helens’ kicking coach in Super League.

“To be honest, I was pleased to be leaving in the end,” said Strange to Dai Sport.

“From a rugby perspective I think we improved the Blues, and attack was the strongest part of our game.

“I’ve been involved in Welsh rugby all my life and sometimes you’ve just got to smile at the politics, because there’ll always be politics in Welsh rugby, but you brush yourself down and move on.

“I understand the game. I’ve been there long enough as a player and a coach.

“Sometimes you’ve just got to smile because there’s always different agendas going on in Welsh rugby, but it’s worked out perfectly for me. I wasn’t disappointed to be leaving.

“At the moment I’m enjoying coaching in rugby league too much. I’ve had opportunities to go back to rugby union but I’m in no rush at the moment.”

Strange was offered a number of union roles after leaving Cardiff, but decided to switch codes in 2019 where he has since played his part in Saints’ three back-to-back Super League titles.

And as soon as the offer came in to join the coaching staff of one of the biggest clubs in rugby league, Strange jumped at the chance.

“It’s worked out perfectly for me.

“I took a bit of a gamble leaving union, but I’ve been up there three seasons now. After departing Cardiff, the easy thing would have been to take the first job offer in rugby union, but I wanted to try and get outside my comfort zone, get some new ideas and try rugby league.

“I’ve always admired the sport. I’ve coached rugby league previously at Wales under 16s and under 18s level, so I had a good insight into it.

“This opportunity came up with St Helens. I can’t speak highly enough of the club and both the head coaches I spoke to have been fantastic.

“I’ve been fortunate to join such a successful club with a winning culture. I think that’s really helped as well.

“Basically, I look after the kicking side of the game. That’s my main area.”

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