Cunningham takes Leigh role

Former St Helens head coach Keiron Cunningham has been appointed Head of Rugby by Leigh Centurions.

Cunningham, 40, was sacked by his hometown club in April after a disappointing start to the season.

A club legend, Cunningham made 496 appearances for Saints as a player and took charge of 74 games as coach, winning 43.

He inherits the Head of Rugby role at Leigh Sports Village from club owner Derek Beaumont, who confirmed that coach Neil Jukes’ role will be unaffected.

Beaumont said: “I said earlier in the season that if I was going to replace anybody in the coaching department it would be myself as with my business commitments I am currently unable to properly fulfil my role as Head Of Rugby and give Neil Jukes the support he needs and deserves. At this time of year I am away in Hull for four weeks at a trade exhibition. 

“Kieron has substantially more experience than myself and I feel his appointment will bring in someone with a fresh pair of eyes and a different approach as well as a different voice around the place to freshen things up.”

Leigh are currently in the midst of a battle to retain their Super League status, having lost 20-16 to Championship side Hull KR in The Qualifiers on Saturday.

Cunningham said: “I have not come in to take anyone’s place, but to add my knowledge and experience as this stage of the season. I get on well with Jukesy and he is a good friend while I have worked with Kieron Purtill in the past. I clashed heads with Cookey (Paul Cooke) and played with Ando (Paul Anderson) at Saints. 

“Derek has brought me in to ease the burden on Neil and bring my experience to Leigh Centurions. Hopefully I will bring a new set of eyes and structures and I’m delighted to have been given this opportunity.”  

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