Featherstone Rovers sack Sean Long with James Ford given task of steering club to Super League

Featherstone Rovers have sacked head coach Sean Long despite holding an eight-point advantage at the top of the Championship.

Long, who replaced Brian McDermott at the end of last year, has left his role in the wake of Sunday's 25-22 defeat at Halifax Panthers, which was just Featherstone's second loss of the season.

The former Great Britain half-back won 19 of his 21 league games in charge but will not get the chance to see the job through and steer Rovers to promotion.

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James Ford, who left Wakefield Trinity to become Featherstone's director of rugby in May, has been tasked with finishing the job after taking the reins until the end of the season.

"We can confirm that we have today reached agreement with head coach Sean Long to part company with immediate effect," read a statement.

"The club has invested significantly this year to ensure that we give ourselves the best possible chance of promotion to Super League in 2023.

"The changes in rules that come into effect from 2024 make it extremely difficult to reach this goal in future years so we are committed to ensure that we leave no stone unturned in delivering this objective.

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"The board have backed this ambition by investing in a playing squad of Super League quality and have been disappointed therefore in this season’s team performance against some of our promotion rivals.

Sean Long has left his position at Post Office Road. (Photo: John Clifton/SWpix.com)Sean Long has left his position at Post Office Road. (Photo: John Clifton/SWpix.com)
Sean Long has left his position at Post Office Road. (Photo: John Clifton/SWpix.com)

"As we reach the countdown to the play-off series, we need to ensure that we maximise the huge potential and high quality of our playing roster and we feel this change will enable us to make the required step up which is required

"We would like to place on record our thanks to Sean Long for his contribution to the club’s efforts this season and wish him well in the future.

"We have asked director of rugby James Ford to take up the head coaching role on an interim basis for the remainder of the year along with Ian Hardman. The club will make a further assessment of whether we need to invest further in our coaching team."

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