Aston: Ireland RL needs cash and greater support

Sheffield Eagles and Ireland coach Mark Aston is in no doubt that he can help rugby league move forward in the Emerald Isle.

But he also knows that much more support must be given to the governing body in Ireland, not least in terms of finance.

Aston certainly seems to have undergone a somewhat chastening experience during this World Cup. The work involved in coaching at an international level is something he has clearly found challenging.

But Aston is a resilient character who admits that he finds a challenge hard to ignore, and his passion for improving the Ireland team is palpable.

But he also pulls no punches when it comes to defining a strategy to develop rugby league in Ireland, and to improve the Irish national team as a result.

“The most important thing is that we get it set up properly behind the scenes,” he told Love Rugby League.

“The Ireland Rugby League has done a relatively good job in Ireland, but it’s over here, in the UK, where we need more work.

“We need to have team sessions, where we can go for a meal, or do something together just like England do.

“We need support, and we need sponsors in place now, for the next World Cup in four years.

“I’ve been talking to a number of people. I’ve met some interested people, who would get involved with Ireland Rugby League going forward.

“They pledged a little bit of money to the players this year. So if I can sit down with them, they’ll know other people. So we can get cash in, so when it comes to the next tournament we can get the players over, get them in the right hotels and everything else.

“The one thing that has been great for this World Cup is the quality of the facilities, the accommodation and the kit. And that helps sell Ireland to players.

“I can’t afford for that standard to drop now.”

Aston’s inability to resist the lure of challenge means that he is already making plans for Ireland‘s future World Cup campaigns.

“We’re going to be looking at getting a budget together, myself and Andy Giles,” he added.

“We’ll present that to Rugby League Ireland and let them know how much it will cost to run it how we think it needs to be run.

“Continuity brings consistency. One thing I haven’t been able to do over the last three years is get a group of people together for four years, so that when we head into the next World Cup, everybody knows everybody well.”

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