Ireland confirm departure of Stuart Littler as head coach ahead of World Cup

Ben Olawumi
Stuart Littler

Irish rugby league legend Stuart Littler has been relieved of his position as the nation’s head coach.

A well-travelled player at club level with sides including Salford and Leigh Centurions, Littler also made 19 senior appearances for his international side scoring over 40 points.

Leaving Swinton Lions last year, Littler – born in Wigan but of Irish descent – is currently head coach at Oldham in League 1 who sit 7th with one point from two games. The Roughyeds drew 22-22 at Hunslet last weekend.

Able to feature as both a back and a forward during his own playing career, the 43-year-old had been expected to lead his national side into the World Cup later this year after overseeing their qualification to the tournament, though the statement released means that will no longer happen.

The Statement in Full

‘Effective on Tuesday March 29th 2022 Stuart Littler ceased to be Head Coach of our Senior Men’s Squad following a week of discussions with him.

We would emphasise that this event in no way diminishes the sincere high esteem that Stuart is, and will always be, held in by RLI after his illustrious playing and coaching career with Ireland.

RLI has decided to go in a different coaching direction in this run up to competing in RLWC2021 later this year and shall be issuing another update on our Coaching Team on Monday the 11th.

We wish Stuart the very best of luck and success for the future in his school teaching and Rugby League coaching careers.’

Littler ends his four-year tenure with a 60%-win ratio following five games in charge. During his time in charge, the Irish defeated Scotland as well as both Italy and Spain during a 2019 European play-off tournament.

With a new face in the dugout, they will start their World Cup campaign on October 16 against Jamaica at Leeds’ Headingley Stadium. The Wolfhounds will also go up against New Zealand and Lebanon in group C.

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