Rovers axe Bastian ahead of ‘substantial’ changes

John Bastian.
John Bastian.
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Featherstone Rovers today parted company with coach John Bastian, following a second successive defeat by Leigh Centurions.

Rovers were beaten 29-10 in a home Kingstone Press Championship fixture yesterday, just a week after losing 26-16 away to the same opposition in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup.

Bastian, a former Rovers player who had spells as youth boss at Leeds Rhinos and Warrington Wolves, took over in the off-season and was in charge for only 10 competitive games.

As well as the Challenge Cup defeat, Rovers have lost three of their opening nine league games and are currently third in the table.

A club statement said: “Featherstone Rovers can announce the departure of John Bastian as head coach. John has helped steer Featherstone Rovers into third position of the Kingstone Press Championship. The club would like to thank John Bastian for his professional services.”

The statement quoted Rovers chairman Mark Campbell as saying: “John is a man of great professionalism, good values, immense integrity and despite not working out at Featherstone Rovers, this man has an immense career in rugby league and I believe he will be coaching in Super League one day. There will be massive interest in his coaching abilities and we wish him and his family well. Danny Evans will take control as interim head coach.”

The statement added: “An announcement regarding substantial changes to the club will be made by club officials at 9am tomorrow. Club officials will be addressing the squad today.”

Though the club say Bastian departed on “mutual terms” there was no hint of an impending exit when he spoke to the Yorkshire Evening Post just two hours before the club’s announcement.

Bastian spoke of positive aspects of yesterday’s performance and hailed the contribution made by several of his young players.

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