Young-guns boss Fletcher exits

CHAMPIONSHIP-winning Under-20s coach Darren Fletcher has left the Warriors.

A change in the structure of the youth set-up at the club meant Fletcher – who balanced his role with a full-time teaching job – was unable to continue in the role due to work commitments.

Fletcher has enjoyed tremendous success with the team, guiding them to back-to-back Grand Final triumphs and also taking charge of the side that won the inaugural 9s event at Headlingley last year.

During that time, youngsters such as Josh Charnley, Stefan Marsh and Jack Hughes have broken into the first-team while many others have advanced their careers in the second-string outfit and are expected to crack into the Super League side next year.

Head coach Shaun Wane paid tribute to Fletcher, saying: “Darren has done a fantastic job in the two years he has been here.

“All the lads rate him and respect him and he should be proud of his achievements with them.

“Unfortunately, with the changes we’re making and with other issues such as work commitments, it hasn’t worked out.

“But we certainly wish him all the best for the future.”

Fletcher, who replaced Wane as coach of the Under-20s, says he has enjoyed his time with the club.

He said: “I really enjoyed my time with Wigan and we leave on good terms.

“I learned a lot and felt I improved as a coach.”

He hopes to stay involved in the game and added: “Hopefully another opportunity in rugby league will come up in the near future.” Head of youth John Winder will now take charge of the Under-20s.

In other changes to the junior structure, last season’s Under-18s coach, Peter Willams, and Under-20s assistant coach Matt Peet have swapped roles.

And Paul Deacon – a new addition to the coaching staff after drawing the curtain down on a glittering playing career – has been appointed assistant coach of the U18s.

Deacon will be a full-time member of the staff and his role will also involve some specialist work with the halfbacks and kickers, as well as first-team responsibilities.