Tony Benson lands Irish job

Date published: Wednesday, June 2, 2010

CONGRATULATIONS to Tony Benson on his appointment as assistant coach of Ireland, a post in which he succeeds Barrie McDermott. The job will not affect his work with the Roughyeds in Oldham.

Barrie has decided to stand down because of extra commitments in his other roles within the sport.

Tony’s appointment as Andy Kelly’s right-hand man within the Irish international set-up represents a promotion for the popular New Zealander, who has been connected with IRL for the last few years.

His appointment was welcomed by Roughyeds chairman Chris Hamilton, who said it was reward for all the hard work Tony has put in for both the Oldham club and for rugby league on the other side of the Irish Sea.

“It’s recognition for the Oldham club as well as for Tony,” said Chris, “and I know everyone at the Roughyeds will wish him well in his new role.

“Whether coaches, players or administrators we all aspire to get to the top of our game, and international rugby league is exactly that.”

One of Tony’s previous jobs with the IRL was to identify and develop Irish-based talent for the last World Cup — an initiative that led directly to the emergence of current Oldham prop Wayne Kerr.

As part of that role, Tony coached the Ireland ‘A’ team in the Home Nations championship and also led an emerging Ireland squad on a development tour of New Zealand.

His new job as assistant coach at senior level will see him operating alongside Kelly for the October international against France and for the European Cup challenges against Wales away and against Scotland in Dublin.

Said Tony: “Part of my philosophy is that I want to be involved in developing the game as a whole, and this new appointment will give me some scope to do that.

“It’s nice to be recognised and to move up, and it will be interesting to work with Super League players and to keep up to date with the things they are doing at club level.

“It’s a post that will challenge me, and I am looking forward to that.”