Featherstone make Hay as former star’s son shines

Andy Hay
Andy Hay
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Featherstone Rovers tonight confirmed the appointment of Andy Hay as first team head coach with immediate effect on a two-year contract.

Hay, a former Great Britain International, had a successful playing career spanning 15 years with Sheffield Eagles, Castleford Tigers, Leeds Rhinos and Widnes Vikings.

He is following in the footsteps of his father John, who was a centre for Roversin the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.

Hay, who played for Great Britain in the 1999 Tri-Nations and England in 2000 World Cup, made his first move into coaching as academy boss at Castleford Tigers before being promoted to assistan-coach alongside Terry Matterson in 2006. In 2011 he joined Hull FC as assistant to Peter Gentle. Following two years at Hull he moved to Salford Red Devils as assistant to Brian Noble and most recently assisted former Rovers player Iestyn Harris.

He is part of the RFL Elite Coaches Programme and visited Australia in 2012 where he spent time at Sydney Roosters, West Tigers and South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Hay said: “I am looking forward to the challenge of being head coach of a club like Featherstone Rovers. It has a fantastic history and tradition which I’m well aware of.

“The club has come on leaps and bounds over the last few years, the stadium redevelopments are progressing well and this centre of excellence is one of the best I’ve seen.

“A competitive squad has been established and all the ingredients are there for the club to kick on. The new competition structures that are coming in place from next year present a great opportunity for Featherstone Rovers and I cannot wait to get started and lead us through an exciting chapter for the club.”

Rovers chairman Mark Campbell said: “I’m absolutely delighted to welcome Andy to the ‘Fev Family’ and relish working with him on strengthening our squad with the new league structures in mind.

“I’m confident with Andy’s knowledge of players throughout Super League we will continue to improve the squad to meet the next challenge of the relegated teams from Super League which I’m sure we are all looking forward to.

“We have an excellent squad at the moment which was demonstrated last weekend with a fantastic win away at the current champions and I’ll like to put on record just how lucky we are to have such an outstanding coach in [caretaker boss] Danny Evans, who we all know is Featherstone through and through.

“I feel it’s going to be an exciting ride from now until the end of the season and the fantastic result achieved at Sheffield Eagles by Danny and the lads was what we as a group talked about last Monday. We all said that Featherstone Rovers season starts now! Now we have beaten Sheffield Eagles, we can go till the end of the season unbeaten and beat Leigh. I know this is Andy’s goal.”

Rovers’ majority shareholder Feisal Nahaboo said: “I’m really excited that we have got our man. Andy has worked alongside some quality coaches over the last five years and observed and learnt their best attributes. He is a well-rounded individual who is used to working with Super League quality players and getting the best out of the players at his disposal and that is something that ticked a lot of boxes for us.

“Andy is chomping at the bit to be a head coach and we feel he is our ideal man. As a player Andy was a winner and competitive player and this character shows through. He is technically very astute, he wishes to play not only a winning brand of rugby, but also an entertaining brand of rugby which will excite supporters.

“It was a unanimous decision to appoint Andy and he was impressed what the club has to offer. The centre of excellence shows our commitment to the long term development of players at the club as well as the fantastic work our volunteers led by Paul Coventry are doing on the Railway End of the ground.

“He interviewed very well and is very enthusiastic about his future. Like all of us at Featherstone Rovers, he is an ambitious man and is fully focused on winning games and returning us to the top echelons where we belong. He will be given the investment which will be substantial to mould the squad he wants to complement the excellent facilities we have at Featherstone Rovers.”

Hay will be in charge when Rovers face visitors Workington Town in the Kingstone Press Championship on Sunday.