Leeds Rhinos: Spell in charge has changed JJB's mind over head-coach ambition

Six games in charge has changed Leeds Rhinos legend Jamie Jones-Buchanan’s mind over whether he wants to be a head at some stage in the future.

By Peter Smith
Saturday, 30th April 2022, 12:01 pm

Friday's 12-0 home win over Hull KR was Jones-Buchanan’s final match as interim-boss.

New coach Rohan Smith is due to arrive in Leeds on Tuesday and will be in charge for Rhinos’ next match, away to Salford Red Devils on Sunday, April 15.

Ironically, that will be a rematch of Rhinos’ 26-12 defeat on March 18 which ended Richard Agar’s spell as team boss.

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Jamie Jones-Buchanan, third from left, watches the win over Hull KR alongside Rhinos' backroom staff. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

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“I found myself here through circumstance, I have never applied for a job in my life.

“I have been a professional player for the vast majority of it, but all the hats you might find me in have come through trying to do the right thing and working as hard as I can and enjoying people.

“That being said, I have never had an experience in my life when I have felt this much purpose.

“It has been the most enlightening period of my life.

“I have learned more in the last three or four weeks than probably the last three or four years.”

Jones-Buchanan was an assistant to Agar and will hold the same role under Smith, but said his spell in the hot seat has given him “a new focus on what I want to do in life”.

He added: “It has helped me understand what I want to do and, probably more important, what I don’t want to do.

“Would I have an appetite to be a head coach one day down the line?

“Absolutely - when Rohan comes in I am going to make the most of every minute to learn what I can from him, from [fellow assistant-coach] Sean Long, [director of performance] Rich Hunwicks and everyone else.”

Jones-Buchanan finished with back-to-back victories and though he admitted he was disappointed not to win more games, he stressed: “I understand what brings about good clubs and good cultures.

“There’s a lot of work to do, but we have started - we have got that ball rolling in the past month and it has been an honour and a pleasure to be part of that.”