Hull KR bring in Willie Poching as James Webster departs

Hull KR have brought in Willie Poching as their new assistant coach, as well as confirming the departure of James Webster.

Webster, 40, was head coach following the departure of Chris Chester in February 2016, and for the past three seasons has assisted first Tim Sheens and then Tony Smith.

The former Robins half-back made 94 appearances for the club, skippering them to their first promotion to Super League in 2005.

He is expected to take the head coach role at Featherstone, with current incumbent Ryan Carr’s departure imminent.

Webster said: “The two head coaches, in Tim and Tony, that I have worked with have taught me a lot both personally and in furthering my knowledge of the game. I am indebted to their time and support.

“I felt that it was the correct time for myself to pursue a new challenge which I am looking forward to.

Meanwhile, former Leeds forward Poching is re-united with Smith, having worked under him at Warrington.

Smith said: “I had and still have a great relationship with James, we remain close and always will be. We’re in regular contact and I’m very grateful for the short time that I have spent with him.

“He has been fantastic for me, and terrific in terms of his knowledge and coaching ability. He’s been incredibly supportive, loyal and honest towards me and I know he’s very passionate about Hull KR.

“But I also understand that he wants to further his career as a head coach and feels that other opportunities have come up for him in that respect. It was with some regret and reluctance that James has left but at the same time it was the right thing for the progress of his career.

I coached Willie to begin with and then he progressed to be my assistant at Leeds and I also had him at Warrington too. I have now asked him to become part of the coaching team here, which is of great value to me.

“He knows the fabric of the place and loved his time here. He is very passionate about it and he is aware of the style of coach that I am and the style of play we desire here.”

Poching had a brief stint as understudy to Webster in 2016, and will work alongside David Hodgson.

He said: “I am ecstatic to be back here at Hull Kingston Rovers. Whilst my last tenure did not quite finish the way that we wanted it to, I have many fantastic memories and I also get to work with many great people again.”

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