Rob Powell has been named acting head coach of Harlequins RL while the club looks for a successor to Brian McDermott.
Powell, who along with Latham Tawhai, has been an assistant coach under McDermott, said: “I’m happy to fill this role as the club searches to find a natural successor. I’m here to provide an important link for the players as we look to bring in new signings for next season and continue to develop local talent.”
Commenting on the appointment Harlequins RL chairman David Hughes said: “We are actively searching for a new head coach. In the meantime there is a lot of player-related activity and preparation for next season which means the players need clear leadership and it’s vital everyone understands who is giving that guidance.
“With that in mind, I’m delighted that Rob, who was handpicked by Brian McDermott to be one of his assistants, will be in charge. This continuity is vital as we prepare for the new season.”
After graduating from Newcastle University he continued to coach the university first team, during which time they had considerable success, reaching the second round of the Challenge Cup in 2001, playing in the BUSA Cup final and being promoted to the Student National League in 2002.
In March 2004 Powell joined South London Storm, becoming a community sports coach and ultimately head coach at the club. In 2006 they won the National Conference championship and later that year he became head coach of Harlequin RL’s Foundation (U’16) Academy side.
In January 2007 Rob was asked to join Brian McDermott’s first grade coaching set up as an assistant coach. Within this role he also coached the Reserves between 2007-2009, notably finishing fourth in 2008 and making the play offs. During this time the likes of Ben Bolger, Lamont Bryan, Dave Williams, Jamie O’Callaghan, Olsi Krasniqi, Luke May and Will Sharp, who Rob first coached at South London Storm before taking him to Harlequins RL, have made the transition to the first team squad.
Powell will be helped by Latham Tawhai who added: “It’s an important time of year for the team as we prepare for next season. I’m 100 percent behind Rob and will offer my full support in this time of transition.”