Cornwall announce new Head Coach

Steven Hughes
Neil Kelly Wales

Cornwall have announced the appointment of former Dewsbury, Leigh and Widnes Head Coach Neil Kelly as their new Head Coach.

Kelly has recently been working for rugby union side Houston SaberCats in America as defence coach. He has been there since 2019.

His last job in rugby league was at Dewsbury, however he stepped away in 2018 due to personal reasons. It was his second spell with the club, after having a highly successful first spell in charge.

He led them to playoff victory in the 2000 season, but they were denied access to the Super League, as their stadium did not meet the standards of the league.

Kelly then left the club a year later, and took charge of Widnes. He was able to repeat the feat, in guiding Widnes to playoff victory, and this time, they were not denied promotion.

In 2002, he was named Super League Coach of the Year as the Vikings solidified their place in the league. Kelly then went into rugby union for the first time, becoming defence coach at Irish side Ulster.

The 59-year-old returned to rugby league with Leigh in 2008, before heading over to Doncaster rugby union as an assistant.

He then spent a couple of years away from rugby, before returning to Dewsbury in 2017.

Kelly sees Cornwall as “perfect challenge”

Speaking to the club website, Kelly said of his appointment: “I’m pinching myself and I see it as a real honour to be the coach of Cornwall RLFC for our inaugural season going into rugby league.

“I have great experience and I am a guy that has a good name within the game- I see Cornwall RLFC as the perfect challenge for myself.

“I will try and build a team that is a perfect rugby league team – very tough and forthright in the way they play. We will look to throw the ball around by getting to both edges and encouraging good football, not stupid football. We will value possession and use it to the best of our ability and that’s what I’ve always tried to do with teams that I have coached in rugby league.

“It will be up to us to meet the challenge of all the teams we will play by doing the basics of the game right and building off that. I know League One and if we respect the ball and do things right in games, we can get one or two surprising results.”

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