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Page last updated at 12:23 GMT, Thursday, 18 September 2008 13:23 UK

Featherstone secure Harris deal

Iestyn Harris
Harris will play on for another two years at Featherstone

Former dual-code international Iestyn Harris has signed a two-year contract to join National League One side Featherstone Rovers.

The 32-year-old, out of contract at Bradford, will be a part-time player.

The stand-off will also work in the club's public relations and marketing department and take up a mentoring role with their young players.

Harris had considered retiring from playing but will now continue and also intends to start his coaching career.

"The most important thing is the playing side of things but hopefully over the two years there will be things to do on the coaching side," Harris said.

"I'm still feeling really fresh and I'm looking forward to two more years playing. I still feel I've a lot to give."

Harris will join up with his former Leeds Rhinos team-mate Daryl Powell, who has agreed a three-year deal to be Featherstone's head coach, at the Chris Moyles Stadium

"Daryl's been coaching (rugby union side) Leeds Carnegie for the last five years and he's back in rugby league now," said Harris.

"He's looking to progress his career in rugby league and he's a really good coach.

Iestyn's impact on and off the field will be huge

Rovers head coach Daryl Powell

"He's someone who's going to be fantastic to learn from and someone I want to work under for the next two or three years, to progress not just my playing career but my coaching career to take me onto the next level.

"I feel I've got a good understanding of rugby in both codes and it's something I want to do and feel I'd be very good at."

Welsh side Celtic Crusaders had been linked with Harris ahead of their Super League debut next season.

Although the Crusaders had wanted to bring Harris to Bridgend, he indicated his options were open for future years.

"I spoke to Celtic Crusaders and it was a really good option but, when I met with Daryl, I really believed this was the right option for my future," Harris said.

"I spoke to (Crusaders head coach) John Dixon a couple of times. I got on reasonably well with John but things didn't really progress beyond that," Harris added.

"I don't think you can never say never in the world of rugby and Celtic Crusaders are hopefully going to be around Super League for the next five, 10, 15 years.

"If my coaching career goes well and if I progress as I hope and feel I can then maybe sometime in the future I will link up with the Celtic Crusaders."

However, Harris will continue to work alongside Dixon in the Wales set-up as the role with Rovers will not interfere with Harris' appointment to the Wales backroom staff.

Oldham-born Harris turned professional at the age of 17 with Warrington before moving to Leeds in 1997, leading them to Challenge Cup final glory two years later.

Harris, who won 34 caps for Wales and Great Britain, was named Man of Steel in 1998 and a year later broke the Leeds record for the number of goals scored in a season.

606: DEBATE

In 2001 Harris made a 1.5m switch to rugby union and played nearly three seasons for Cardiff Blues, adding to his international reputation with 25 caps for Wales, before returning to Super League in 2004 with Bradford.

Featherstone chief executive Andy Prout said: "This is another indication of how serious we are at Featherstone.

"To attract a player of Iestyn's calibre when he is still playing at the top of his game is absolutely huge."

Featherstone have also added former Leeds scrum-half Ryan Sheridan to their backroom staff, who will be reunited with two team-mates from the 1999 Cup-winning team.

Sheridan, who was the Rhinos scrum-half from 1997-2002 and partnered Powell at Wembley, was assistant coach at Dewsbury until parting company with Andy Kelly in May.

Powell said: "Ryan will be my assistant but Iestyn's impact on and off the field will be huge. I know the standards that he sets in everything that he does and I expect that influence to spread across the whole group.

"He's going to be massive for us next year. It makes sense for someone of his ability to be involved as a leader and at times during the season involved in the coaching group.

"We'd be foolish not to take advantage of his knowledge."

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see also
Powell named Featherstone coach
08 Sep 08 |  Rugby League
Bulls' Harris ponders retirement
13 Sep 08 |  Bradford
Wigan 30-14 Bradford
12 Sep 08 |  Rugby League
Harris wants Wales to be a force
19 Jun 08 |  Rugby League
Harris takes Wales coaching role
18 Jun 08 |  Rugby League
Celtic Crusaders plot Harris move
10 Jun 08 |  Rugby League
Bradford & Leeds end Harris feud
07 May 08 |  Rugby League
Ex-hooker Hall named Wales coach
27 Sep 05 |  International
Harris retires from Britain duty
10 May 06 |  Rugby League
Harris confirms code switch
17 Jun 04 |  My Club
Cardiff complete Harris capture
10 Aug 01 |  Welsh-Scottish Rugby
BBC Sport Wales coverage
23 Mar 08 |  Wales


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