Royce Simmons leaves St Helens following disastrous start to season

 

St Helens have parted company with head coach Royce Simmons just seven matches into the Stobart Super League season following the club's disastrous start.

Simmons, who was in the second year of a two-year contract, guided Saints to a fifth successive Grand Final last October but has paid the price for the club's worst ever run in the summer era.

Saturday's 12-8 loss at Bradford was their fourth straight defeat and they have taken just a point from their last five matches, their worst run since 1985.

Simmons' right-hand man Kieron Purtill has also stepped down and Saints have appointed head of performance Mike Rush as acting head coach, with former captain Keiron Cunningham as his assistant

St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus said: "Our season has got off to a difficult start and it is best to make change sooner rather than later.

"We have every faith in Mike Rush and Keiron Cunningham. They each know the club inside out and have all the experience together to take us forward."

The 51-year-old Simmons recently spoke about the pressure on him to deliver silverware to St Helens, whose last trophy success was in 2008 when they lifted the Challenge Cup under Daniel Anderson.

Saints have badly missed England hooker James Roby, who has sat out their last two matches through injury, but their dismal run began with a draw at Hull KR a month ago, followed by a dramatic last-second home defeat by Catalan Dragons.

They have subsequently also lost to Huddersfield, Hull and Bradford and face a Grand Final rematch with Leeds at Langtree Park on Sunday.

McManus added: "I would like to go on record to pay genuine tribute to Royce Simmons. He is a fantastic person and of absolute character and integrity, who has given everything to the club.

"I am sure that everyone at the club joins me in thanking him sincerely for all his work and dedication and to wish him and his family well for the future.

"Our sentiments are the same with Kieron Purtill. Force of circumstance has reconstituted change."

Rush and Cunningham will be in charge for the clash with the Rhinos but are likely to be only in temporary control while St Helens seek a permanent successor to Simmons.

Anderson, who was last week appointed as Exiles coach for the two-match series against England this summer, has already ruled out a return to St Helens, which leaves Huddersfield head coach Nathan Brown as the clear favourite.

Brown, who has turned the Giants into genuine title contenders during his three years at the club, last November confirmed his intention to step down at the end of this season and the club have already announced he will be succeeded in 2013 by his assistant Paul Anderson.

The former St George Illawarra boss was expected to return to Australia but, with top jobs in the NRL scarce, he will be tempted to stay in Super League if offered what is widely considered to be a glamour post with Saints.

PA

Arts and Entertainment
TVShow's twee, safe facade smashed by ice cream melting scandal
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
tv
Life and Style
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Actor, model and now record breaker: Jiff the Pomeranian
Video
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
News
i100
News
Down time: an employee of Google uses the slide to get to the canteen
scienceBosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?