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Page last updated at 06:18 GMT, Tuesday, 15 September 2009 07:18 UK

Davies backs Noble for Crusaders

Wigan coach Brian Noble
Noble's side were the first to lose at Crusaders in Super League

Wales dual-code legend Jonathan Davies has backed Wigan boss Brian Noble to take over at Celtic Crusaders.

Ousted coach John Dixon's last game was Sunday's 35-22 defeat at Castleford, marking the end of a disappointing Super League debut season.

"I think at the moment the best man would be Brian Noble - he's coached Great Britain, England and Bradford to Super League successes," said Davies.

"If he came down he'd bring a lot of the players from the north-west."

Ex-Crusaders president Davies says recruiting such an established rugby league coaching figure would send a message about the Welsh club's long-term ambitions.

Noble has already had a taste of the Crusaders' potential, having seen his side become the first big-time opponents to lose in Wales, going down 22-16 at Bridgend in June.


Davies starred for Neath and Llanelli, then had stints in rugby league at Widnes and Warrington before returning to rugby union with Cardiff.

In doing so he became one of the biggest cross-code successes and is now a BBC pundit in both sports.

And Davies told BBC Sport Wales the Crusaders must aim high or risk a challenge to their Super League status when franchises are reviewed ahead of the 2012 season.

The Welsh club were granted three years in which to establish their longer-term credentials in the sport.

"There has to be better to come," added Davies. "They've had a taste of it now and realise how tough it is.

"Next year they'll have to improve and the following year they'll have to improve again.

"They don't want to be languishing in the bottom. They want to be mid-table or fighting for a play-off in three years' time.

"And if that doesn't happen it'll be interesting to see what does happen because then will Widnes or Halifax or Leigh or Featherstone come in and take their place."

Davies also says Australian Dixon paid the price for his loyalty towards his own players.

"He [Dixon] kept faith with a lot of the players that have brought him into the Super League," stated Davies.

"Unfortunately they weren't good enough and ultimately John has lost his job through it."

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see also
Ex-Crusaders coach lands new job
15 Sep 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Castleford 35-22 Celtic Crusaders
13 Sep 09 |  Rugby League
Dixon to leave Celtic Crusaders
12 Sep 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Deported Crusaders claim awards
12 Sep 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Noble link 'good for Crusaders'
11 Sep 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Dixon quiet on Crusaders future
04 Sep 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Noble not fazed by Wigan rumours
25 Jun 09 |  Wigan
Super League Show
17 Feb 08 |  Rugby League

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