Today it was announced by Gary Hetherington via Leeds Live that Richard Agar will be taking on the Director of Rugby role vacated by Kevin Sinfield in the near future. The Leeds Chief Executive stressed that the club feel no pressure to make this change now and stated that Agar would only take up this position when the right Head Coach is found. Until then, the ex-Hull FC coach will remain in the hotseat whilst splitting the Director of Rugby role between himself and Hetherington.
But who will Leeds look towards as a potential new Head Coach as the club looks to return to the heights of the golden generation.
We’re attempting to answer that question with a list of six coaches who could take over from Richard Agar.
It was rumoured weeks ago that Leeds were in discussions with Ryan Carr over becoming Head Coach. Carr has previously worked with the Rhinos alongside Agar whilst leading Featherstone as Head Coach before moving back down under. Carr got the Rovers playing an exciting brand of rugby one which could benefit the Rhinos if he was to take over.
Son of a legendary Leeds skipper and former coach David Ward, Danny Ward himself had a special Leeds legacy helping end the club’s 32-year wait for a Championship in 2004. As a coach, he worked miracles at London guiding them to Super League in 2019 and very nearly ensuring survival despite the disadvantages they faced. A great developer of players, he could develop the exciting youngsters Leeds currently have.
An NRL winning coach, Flanagan has reportedly been approached by Leeds for the Head Coaches role in the past and the Rhinos could make another move for the former Cronulla coach again now that they’ve settled on Agar’s move into the Director of Rugby role. With definite quality and a winning mentality, he could end Leeds’ wait for Grand Final glory.
This is an out there pick, but Anderson is a former Leeds player and achieved brilliant success as a coach at Huddersfield. He made the Giants hard to break down defensively and developed an exhilarating offence. He did all this without the resources of his rivals leading Huddersfield to top spot in 2013. If he can do that at Huddersfield, with the backing of Leeds he could achieve even more. Currently coach of Warrington’s Under-19s, could he be tempted back into the Head Coach role?
Wigan were perhaps in a similar position in 2009 to where Leeds find themselves now. Michael Maguire came in and took the quality players already at the club and the youngsters developing in the Cherry and White blended them with some superb signings and developed a top notch side winning the Grand Final in his first year with the club. Could he do the same at Leeds? Still at Wests in Australia, some think his time there could be coming to an end even if he has been trusted to again lead the club in 2022. If that’s the case, Leeds could pounce on the former Wigan man.
Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Sean Long
Or will Leeds follow in the footsteps of Wigan in another way and emulate the new coaching structure the Warriors have introduced by promoting one of or both of Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Sean Long and building a support network around them of quality coaches and inspiring former players.