Rugby League: Eagles land Larder

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The Independent Online
Phil Larder, the Great Britain coach, had some welcome good news yesterday when he was appointed coach of Sheffield Eagles yesterday.

Larder, the former Widnes and Keighley coach, will return from Britain's tour to succeed Gary Hetherington, the founder of the Eagles who left the club earlier this week to become chief executive of Leeds.

The announcement was made within two hours of Britain's third Test defeat in New Zealand. Speaking from Christchurch, Larder said: "Sheffield Eagles are one of the real success stories of rugby league and I am proud and honoured to accept the position."

Larder succeeds his own assistant in the Great Britain camp, Hetherington, who flew home early from the tour to take up his new position at Headingley. Hetherington said: "Phil is a tremendous signing. He has worked at every level and is very ambitious to take a team to the top. He will find the Eagles players very receptive and eager to learn. I wish him every success."

Larder, a former player with Oldham and Whitehaven, was the Rugby League's first director of coaching from 1982 to 1986. He later coached Widnes and Keighley and was assistant to the Great Britain coaches, Maurice Bamford, Malcolm Reilly and Ellery Hanley, before becoming the England coach for the 1995 World Cup.

The Sheffield president, Terry Sharman, who has succeeded Hetherington as chief executive, said: "I have known Phil Larder since 1981 and have admired his outstanding record in coaching and team management. His availability at this time represents a golden opportunity for the Eagles."