YEP Jury: Finding right replacement for Richard Agar at Leeds Rhinos will be difficult

Our panel of Leeds Rhinos fans felt Richard Agar made the right decision to step aside but they all agree that finding his successor as head coach won’t be easy. Here are their thoughts:

By YEP Sportsdesk
Thursday, 24th March 2022, 5:01 pm


Is Richard Agar up for the job? That’s the question I asked myself on Friday night after watching that performance at Salford.

Well, Richard answered that for me and resigned on Monday. I believe he isn’t solely to blame for the issues we’re having; it’s also down to the players who, at the minute, don’t look like they are up to wearing the blue and amber shirt with pride. We can only hope Jamie Jones-Buchanan can whip them into shape. Gary Hetherington needs to find a replacement as soon as possible.

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Former Leeds Rhinos player Danny Ward is among the favourites for the head coach role at Headingley. Picture: Allan McKenzie/

Tomorrow’s Challenge Cup fixture against Castleford is more like a battle to stay in Super League; both teams have been playing poorly since the start of the season.

To be honest, I can see Cas going into the next round because we always know they turn up against Leeds. In addition, we don’t want any distractions, considering where we are in the table, especially after Toulouse’s win against St Helens and Wakefield gaining another victory. If anything, we need to focus on the league, going forward, and try our best to move far away from that bottom spot.


‘Here comes the rain again’. Ryan Bailey (he ‘says what he wants’ – on Twitter) and others have got their wish; Richard Agar is no longer head coach.

Former Leeds Rhinos coach Richard Agar has stood aside from the role with thanks from our YEP fans' jury. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

If nothing changes, nothing changes. Something needs to happen to re-ignite this team. We have to see the intensity of the first game of the season return. Will this change help get the season back on track?

Kudos to Agar who came in the most difficult circumstances, helped rebuild a squad at a very low ebb and guided Leeds to a major trophy.

Who’s next for the hot seat?

I am a massive fan of Danny Ward who worked absolute wonders in the capital, as a certain Brian McDermott did, and he had a pretty good record at Headingley. It won’t be a big ask to tempt him away from rugby union.

Our YEP fans' jury is hoping Leeds Rhinos players provide some new-coach bounce back for interim-coach Jamie Jones-Buchanan in this weekend's Challenge Cup derby with Castleford Tigers. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

There is a feeling of deja vu to a similarly disastrous start to the season and coach Dave Furner sacked the week before our Challenge Cup game at Bradford. That ended in tears with an early exit to lower-level opposition.

Let’s have no repeat this weekend against Cas. Come on Leeds!


After a poor start to the season, the inevitable happened with Richard Agar stepping aside.

I, for one, would like to thank him for the huge effort he has put into the club to turn it around.

The highlight was the Challenge Cup win. Hopefully, JJB knows you cannot go into a game with two prop forwards and expect to win.

Three hasn’t been enough in the previous games so why they went with two is mind-boggling.

Five recognised props in your whole squad for a season is asking for disaster at such an abrasive position.

It might be time to look towards the Championship for some cover; there are plenty of good front-rowers who would jump at the chance to play for Leeds.

The lack of go-forward hasn’t helped the halves but that doesn’t mean they get off lightly.

The pair aren’t rookies, with over 360 first-grade games, but the game management and creativity from the pair has been non-existent at times.

If Richie Myler was fit he’d start in front of one of them on current form.


A change of head coach and a former player put in charge has sprung a new wave of optimism upon what is to come this season – and, truth be told, we needed a change.

I was running out of words to describe our performances. Dreadful. Awful. Embarrassing. It was the same every week and every other Rhinos fan I have spoken to since Friday felt the same way.

To throw it away, not for the first time this season, in the final 15 minutes is sloppy. How many tries have we conceded in that final 15 minutes of the game? Seven tries in six games – two against Warrington, one against Wigan, two against Wakefield and three last week against Salford.

Someone said, the other day, that if we lose in the Challenge Cup, that is the season over.

It’s the bitter truth.

With Richard Agar leaving, hopefully the team will have that new manager bounce this weekend under Jamie Jones-Buchanan and we can put our name into the hat for the next round. Let’s start our season from scratch on Saturday and start playing rugby league again.


Salford Red Devils was one game too many for Richard Agar as he has stepped down as head coach.

Rich came in on a six-month contract and did what he needed to do; that was to bring back stability.

He won us a Challenge Cup and got us back in play-off rugby. Besides Wire and Wakefield, the players just haven’t given him the performances that indicate they truly believe he is the right man for the job.

Rich did a good job for Leeds but I think he has taken Leeds as far as they can go and it is the right time for him to step down.

Who we bring in next is an even bigger question. Jamie Jones-Buchanan is taking charge for the Challenge Cup tie against Castleford Tigers this weekend and I’m sure he’ll have them up for it in the Yorkshire derby.

I don’t see JJB as the long-term replacement with his lack of experience but, whoever it is, has a big job on their hands.

Cas coach Lee Radford is also under pressure for a result at the moment, so it should be a cracking game.


When Jeff Tracy, head of International Rescue from TV’s Thunderbirds, won’t return your calls, then the writing was clearly on the wall for Richard Agar’s tenure as head coach and he departs the role with our thanks, not least for the 2020 Challenge Cup win.

The question now is, who exactly do you replace him with, especially with the season up and running? All the half-decent British talent is already contracted with other clubs/rugby union, so coaxing them to LS6 will be expensive. Likewise those coaches currently kicking their heels are probably doing so for a good reason.

There is always Down Under but, again, all the top coaches are tied up and are unlikely to quit even for Leeds, arguably the biggest job in the northern hemisphere, leaving you with ambitious (yet untried) coaches.

The problem is they use Super League gigs as merely career progression.

Take Justin Holbrook, a great coach for Saints but there for just two seasons before they were ‘back to square one’ hunting for a replacement. It is times like these when you wouldn’t want to swap places with Gary Hetherington.

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