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Saturday, 20 September 2014

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Rooney appointed by England after leading Wath Brow to glory

Ian Rooney has been named new head coach of the English Lions – just weeks after steering Wath Brow Hornets to the pinnacle of the amateur game.

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Leaders: New English Lions coach Ian Rooney, centre, with assistants Richard Owen, left, and Colin Brown

The Cumbrian enjoyed the biggest success of his career when coaching the Hornets to their 22-6 win over Myton Warriors in the National Conference Grand Final at Widnes in November.

And he will launch his two-year tenure as Lions boss with immediate effect, wasting no time in appointing his backroom staff, with Richard Owen and Colin Brown linking up as assistant coaches.

Owen, the Wigan St Patrick’s coach, and Brown, who helped save Skirlaugh from relegation late last year, complete a National Conference League trio of coaches whose first task will be to select and prepare the Lions squad for the defence of their Community Home Nations title later this summer.

Rooney, who enjoyed a glittering amateur international career a player, is delighted to be given the role and is looking forward to building on the work done by previous incumbent Jimmy Taylor.

“It’s a great honour to be appointed English Lions head coach,” said a delighted Rooney. “I’m really looking forward to working with Richard and Colin and I know they’re as excited as me about getting the chance to work with the best players from the community game.

“We’ll face some tough tests against Scotland, Ireland and Wales later in the year so the three of us will be constantly looking at players during the season as we look to name a strong squad for our title defence.”

Rooney will not have to look far for promising prospects as his Brow charges Karl Dixon, Scott Pink, Ian Curnow and Charlie Tomlinson all featured in the English Lions’ Under-18 clash with the Australian Institute of Sport last month.

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