Iestyn: Wigan is the place for me

Iestyn Harris
Iestyn Harris

IESTYN Harris had no reservations about stepping back to becoming an assistant coach after being thrown a Super League lifeline by Wigan.

The Welsh Test boss was facing an uncertain future when Crusaders – where he was head coach – announced their intention to withdraw from the top-flight.

But Wigan swooped quickly to secure his services and Harris is excited at the prospect of helping Shaun Wane build on the solid footing laid over the past two seasons.

Chairman Ian Lenagan praised the former dual-code international’s “courage” in accepting a position as No.2.

But Harris said: “I had no major rush to jump into the head coaching role, it happened quite quickly at Crusaders, so I certainly don’t see coming to Wigan as a step back.

“It’s a club steeped in history and talent. It’s a big challenge for the coaching group and playing group because to be a success at Wigan, you need to win trophies.

“That’s the pressure of being at a club like Wigan.

“But I’m very excited to be helping Shaun be a successful head coach and excited to be working with some top class professionals.”

Crusaders’ decision to pull out of Super League shocked fans, and left all the playing and coaching staff seeking new employment.

“I wouldn’t say I was worried, because I was confident in my ability as a coach,” continued Harris.

“When I spoke to Shaun, Ian and Kris (Radlinski, rugby manager), I realised this was the place for me.”

Harris’ link-up with Wigan comes 15 years after he turned down their advances to sign him as a player. He went on to have a trophy-laden career with Leeds, Cardiff RU and Bradford. “Wigan was an option in my much younger days – and much slimmer days,” he joked.