Leeds Rhinos: Five qualities Jamie Jones-Buchanan will bring to role as interim-boss

Leeds Rhinos will be under new management when they take on Castleford Tigers in a Betfred Challenge Cup derby at Headingley on Saturday.

By Peter Smith
Wednesday, 23rd March 2022, 10:02 am

The sixth-round tie is club legend Jamie Jones-Buchanan’s first game as interim-coach after previous boss Richard Agar stepped down on Monday.

Jones-Buchanan - whose coaching team includes Sean Long and performance director Richard Hunwicks - had been an assistant to Agar since the 2020 season, but has no experience as a head coach. So what qualities will be bring to the role?

1: Passion. Rhinos have lacked that in games this year, but Jones-Buchanan has it in bucket loads. Leeds-born, he supported the club as a child and spent his entire playing career there. A naturally positive individual, he is a motivator and an experienced communicator.

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Jamie Jones-Buchanan. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

2: Leadership. The 40-year-old captained Leeds at times during his playing career and is well regarded by the playing staff. When Leeds won the Challenge Cup in 2015, then-captain Kevin Sinfield asked Jones-Buchanan - who was recovering from a season-ending injury - to lift the trophy with him. That highlighted his importance to the squad even when not playing.

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3: Character. Blandness isn’t a useful characteristic in a coach and Jones-Buchanan is definitely not dull. He may not be a typical coach, but different and unorthodox characters can succeed. Danny Ward, a former Rhinos team-mate of Jones-Buchanan, is a prime example with what he achieved at London Broncos.

4: Knowledge. He may lack top-flight coaching experience, but Jones-Buchanan has been involved with Rhinos’ first team since 1999. He has worked with the current group of players and backroom staff, is keen to give young prospects an opportunity and knows the Rhinos club and Super League inside out.

Jamie Jones-Buchanan and Kevin Sinfield lift the Challenge Cup at Wembley in 2015. Picture by Steve Riding.

5: Determination. As a teenager, Jones-Buchanan battled back from a potentially career-ending injury. He was written off several times during his playing days and knows how to cope with adversity and come out the other side. He was known as possibly the most competitive player in the golden generation squad, which won eight Super League titles and doesn’t accept second best.

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Jamie Jones-Buchanan, right, with assistant-coach Sean Long. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.