Simmons to coach Saints
St Helens have confirmed the appointment of Royce Simmons as their new head coach for next season.
Last Updated: 22/07/10 3:06pm
St Helens have confirmed former Kangaroos hooker Royce Simmons will succeed Mick Potter as head coach next season.
Simmons, 50, will quit his assistant's role with the Australian national team to take charge at Knowsley Road on a two-year year contract.
"Royce will bring vast experience to the Saints," said St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus.
"He is used to successfully coaching elite players and developing young talent alike.
"Having worked directly with Australian national coach Tim Sheens for the last seven years, he is more than well equipped to ensure that Saints compete and succeed at the highest level."
Simmons feels the new challenge has come at just the right time in his coaching career.
"This is a huge honour for me and a challenge that I am ready for," he said.
"St Helens are one of the great historic names in world rugby league and are at the crossroads for a great future as they move to a new stadium with a squad that has a great balance and blend of proven internationals and some of the brightest young prospects in the game.
"I'm fully aware of their record of achievement and the style of rugby which has so distinguished them over the years. I'm really looking forward to taking up the role and moving to England."
A one-club man as a player with Penrith Panthers from 1980-91, Simmons won 10 caps with the Kangaroos and made 10 appearances in Origin for New South Wales.
He launched his coaching career at Hull from 1992-94 before returning to Sydney to take charge of the Panthers.
Simmons, who spent seven seasons in charge at Penrith, has been assistant to Sheens at Wests Tigers since 2003 and has also been Sheens' right hand man with the Kangaroos for the last 18 months.
"Although sad to lose Royce, I'm extremely happy for him," said Sheens. "He's now absolutely ready to succeed in coaching a club of the standing of St Helens.
"He's more than aware of what it takes and has all the attributes and attitude to succeed at the highest level."
Former Leigh utility back Kieron Purtill, who has been the right-hand man to Daniel Anderson and Potter, is expected to stay on as Simmons' assistant but
Saints have also added captain Keiron Cunningham to their coaching staff for next season.
Cunningham will assume a split role, principally assisting in the coaching of the academy and assisting with fitness and conditioning.
Simmons will become Saints' fifth Australian coach in the Super League era, following in the footsteps of Shaun McRae, Ian Millward, Daniel Anderson and Potter, and his appointment means that 10 of the 14 Super League clubs will have overseas coaches in 2011.
Saints are the last of the four clubs to fill their head-coaching vacancies for 2011.
Bradford have appointed Potter as Steve McNamara's successor, Catalans Dragons have gone for Australian Trent Robinson and Huddersfield ended their search when Nathan Brown decided to stay on at the Galpharm Stadium.