Richard Agar says “rugby genius” Sean Long can have a huge impact on Leeds Rhinos’ Super League bid in 2021.
The former St Helens and Great Britain half-back returned to league from Harlequins RU when he became Agar’s assistant at the back end of last year. Now Long will have a full pre-season with the Rhinos squad as they bid to add to last year’s Challenge Cup win – and Agar believes there are few better brains in the sport.
Agar said: “When you’re talking about the absolute smart geniuses of rugby league knowledge, Sean is right up there. I’m saying that having worked at the top levels of the game for a long time – he’s as smart a rugby league individual as you will ever come across.
“He’s already stamping his mark here. For anybody that knows Sean, his passion for rugby league is incredible – he absolutely lives and breathes it.
“He’s chock-a-block full of ideas for training methods and drills he wants to throw in – at this moment in time we’re just trying to hold him back and not throw everything at them in one foul swoop!
“He’s been brilliant – he did a little bit with us pre-season last year and then came in for the last couple of weeks. The boys have loved his presence and energy. When the players came back in we gave them a presentation around some of the things we did well last year and some areas we can improve.
“There was some statistical information in there and some real gaps that if we want to get up there and challenge this year, then we need to be much better at. Some of that was a nod to our coaching staff and Sean’s knowledge and detail is right up there with anybody’s in the game.”
Agar also believes he has the perfect foil for maverick Long in the Rhinos’ former second rower Jamie Jones-Buchanan, who also works as an assistant on his backroom staff.
Agar added: “Jamie’s an unbelievable communicator, a great orator and a guy who will always challenge the consensus. He thinks out of the box, and is a coach who if you throw him a challenge, will think laterally and come back with lots of different ideas.
“I love the fact that we’ve got different people on our staff that can all challenge each other. Jamie, a year in on the back of last year, will continue to grow as a coach. Both guys are wonderful characters to be around day in day out.”