Richard Agar’s sole focus is on ‘fixing up’ Leeds Rhinos

Leeds Rhinos interim coach Richard Agar.
Leeds Rhinos interim coach Richard Agar.
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INTERIM BOSS Richard Agar says his focus is on fixing Leeds Rhinos’ poor performances, rather than who takes permanent charge.

Agar stepped into the hot seat when Dave Furner was sacked almost two weeks ago.

Leeds Rhinos' director of rugby Kevin Sinfield.

Leeds Rhinos' director of rugby Kevin Sinfield.

Speaking in the wake of Rhinos’ 30-8 home defeat by Castleford Tigers, he said a quick appointment would be preferable, but stressed that is a decision for chief executive Gary Hetherington and director of rugby Kevin Sinfield.

“I don’t know where they are at,” admitted the former Hull and Wakefield Trinity coach.

“My focus is very much on the team and the next game.

“I am not going to comment too much on it, it is up to [Hetherington and Sinfield] and they can get on and make whatever choice they want.”

We still have time to turn this around and get some positives out of this year, but we’ve got to do it quickly.

Richard Agar

Agar does not want the job in the long-term, but confirmed he will stay for as long as needed.

He admitted: “It came as a bit of a shock and surprise.

“It was quite sudden in the way it happened and as tough as the situation is I will roll my sleeves up and give it my best shot and try and get these boys back together and pointing in the right direction.

“We still have time to turn this around and get some positives out of this year, but we’ve got to do it quickly.”

Kallum Watkins in action against Castleford.

Kallum Watkins in action against Castleford.

Agar is confident there are “people within the group who want to do something about it and who care about it”.

He added: “That’s the most important thing at the moment. We asked for an improved effort [against Castleford] and I do think we got that in areas, but our lack of quality in certain areas is hurting us badly.

“Our resilience in our defence and our ability to win tackles is just not good enough in terms of staying in a game. Castleford marched us down the field quite easily and when you throw in a kicking game that was not up to scratch, we spent a lot of time defending in our own half and not really playing with the ball in good ball.

“That has been pretty symptomatic throughout big periods of the year.”

Tyler Dupree.

Tyler Dupree.

If London Broncos win at home to Wakefield Trinity today, repeating their victory from round one, they will move level on points with Rhinos ahead of the Magic Weekend showdown at Liverpool in eight days’ time.

“You see an anxiety around us and I think, performing like we have done and being in the position we are, you can probably see why,” Agar conceded. “Speaking to some of the guys they are pretty determined to get us on the right track, but the quality we are delivering in certain areas of the game has got to be much better.”

Full-back/stand-off Tui Lolohea hobbled off in the opening quarter against Tigers and was in a supportive boot after the game. Agar reported: “He rolled an ankle, we will get checks on that, but early looks at it aren’t that promising.”

Teenage forward Tyler Dupree – who is a member of Rhinos’ full-time squad, but has yet to make his debut – has joined York City Knights on a month’s loan.