His Super League side Harlequins RL named him as acting head coach, following the departure of Brian McDermott, on the day he flew out to Lebanon two weeks ago to take the helm of the international team where, initially, his secondment was for a month.
However, after just 12 days away, the club’s owner has requested the return of his coach as he provides an important link for the players and management as they look to bring in new signings. With pre-season to start on November 1st, there is a lot of player-related activity and preparation for the new season and the club had no option but to recall its man in charge.
Powell commented, “I am really sad to have to leave the Cedars half way through the programme. I was an assistant at Harlequins when I agreed but since then the head coach has left and, as of yet, a successor has not been appointed and I have taken up the acting role.”
“I have really enjoyed my time here and I would like to thank the boys and all the management team for this opportunity and their support. It has been increasingly apparent that I need to be in London as we finalize the squad in time for pre-season and, therefore, will be heading back home. I hope I have given the boys guidance and helped them in the right direction. I am proud to have been associated with Lebanese rugby league”.
LRLF Chief Operating Officer Remond Safi was keen to pay tribute to Powell’s influence. “It’s disappointing for this situation to arise half way through our preparations for next month’s MENA championship but the LRLF fully understand situation and accept Rob’s need to return to England,” he said.
“The boys had quickly got accustomed to their new coach’s style and attitude and were looking forward to developing more under him when we got back home to Lebanon but they fully support his decision in returning to his Super League club.”
They and the management team would like to thank Rob for his efforts and wish him all the best in his endeavors and we hope to see him back on a Lebanese rugby league field in the future. We will look forward to welcoming his Harlequins colleague Latham Tawhai as the new interim Cedars coach and, from Rob’s accounts, our squad will be in very good hands.”
In the bruising, drawn series in Italy, full back Mohmad Jamil was named player of the tournament.