Leeds Rhinos boss hails 'brains trust' of Sean Long and Jamie Jones-Buchanan ahead of Super League semi-final against St Helens

Assistant-coach Sean Long has been credited with inspiring Kruise Leeming’s successful move into Leeds Rhinos’ halves.

Thursday, 30th September 2021, 8:04 pm

With Rob Lui, Luke Gale and Callum McLelland all spending a large portion of the season on the casualty list, Leeming - normally a hooker - has filled in.

Despite his inexperience in the role, he has done an impressive job and coach Richard Agar revealed the switch was Long’s suggestion.

A former Great Britain half-back, Long has been involved with preparations for tonight’s Betfred Super League semi-final at his former club St Helens.

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Rhinos coach Richard Agar, right, with assistants Jamie Jones-Buchanan, left and Sean Long before last week's win over Wigan. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

He joined Rhinos’ coaching staff at the end of last season and focuses on their attacking game, while fellow assistant Jamie Jones-Buchanan works with the forwards.

Agar described the pair as his “brains trust” and said their contribution this year has been “enormous”.

He said: “It makes my job really easy. One thing I will say of them is they are ideas men.

“I think as a head coach, that’s a good spot to be in, to know not everything rests upon you to come up with different ideas and thoughts and views on what might be important this week.

Kruise Leeming on the ball in last week's win over Wigan. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

“Both those guys are passionate rugby league men, deep thinkers, have extreme knowledge and experience and they absolutely love the game.”

The extra input has been essential during a difficult season when Leeds have had to cope with key players ruled out by injuries, illness and suspensions.

“We have had to have some ideas this year,” Agar added. “I’ll use Kruise Leeming as a prime example.

“It was Sean Long who, when we were struggling with our half-back combinations, said ‘let’s give Kruise a crack there, I think he’ll do a really good job’. I’d really credit Sean with that.”

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