Leeds Rhinos coach Richard Agar reveals why Challenge Cup success was so emotional for him

LEEDS RHINOS head coach Richard Agar hailed his side’s spirit as they lifted the Coral Challenge Cup – and opened up on why the historic success meant so much to him.

Luke Gale’s 76th-minute drop goal saw the West Yorkshire club fight back to defeat Salford Red Devils 17-16 at Wembley.

It was Leeds’ 14th Cup victory and completed a fine turnaround in fortunes given they were in such chaos last term. “There were a couple of times where we looked gone in that game and it was just spirit that got us through,” said Agar, as Rhinos won the behind-closed-doors showpiece.

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“I’m so pleased for the boys and, after the embarrassment of losing to Bradford in the Cup last year, it is a bit of a resurrection for us to turn it around in 12 months. I’m proud of them.”

But Agar, who was appointed last May after Dave Furner was sacked, also follows on from his dad Allan Agar, who famously coached Featherstone Rovers to a shock Wembley win in 1983.

“One thing I’m really proud of is that myself and my father became the first father and son pairing to do that,” he said.

“From a little rugby-mad mining village (Featherstone), it’s a wonderful story for us and our family.

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“When Featherstone won in ’83 my mum had just had cancer for 12 months and coming out to win that trophy and then get the Man of Steel, as he did, was the time she went into remission.

It's ours: Leeds Rhinos head coach Richard Agar poses with the Challenge Cup. Picture: PAIt's ours: Leeds Rhinos head coach Richard Agar poses with the Challenge Cup. Picture: PA
It's ours: Leeds Rhinos head coach Richard Agar poses with the Challenge Cup. Picture: PA

“It came back to get her a few years later but you can see from a personal point of view why I got a little emotional at the end of the game and why it means so much.

“It’s certainly nothing to do with me proving myself as a head coach.

“I just said to the guys they can never ever take this away from you.”

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James Mitchinson

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