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Page last updated at 06:24 GMT, Thursday, 17 September 2009 07:24 UK

Harris set to become Wales coach

By Peter Shuttleworth

Iestyn Harris
Iestyn Harris helped Wales to two World Cup semi-finals

Iestyn Harris is set to be unveiled as Wales' new rugby league coach next week after the former Great Britain star admitted he would "love" to do the job.

BBC Sport understands Harris is to be announced as John Dixon's successor and will assisted by the experienced former Wales coach Clive Griffiths.

Featherstone Rovers coach Harris had been assistant to Dixon with Wales.

Dixon was sacked from Super League club Celtic Crusaders and will return to Australia so will leave his Wales post.

Australian Dixon, who was once part of the Brisbane Broncos backroom staff, will return home to take charge of Queensland club Redcliffe Dolphins next month.

Harris will be aided by fellow Welsh dual-code international Griffiths, who also assisted Wales' rugby union team during Mike Ruddock's Grand Slam winning reign, in his first job as a head coach.

Griffiths, who had a brief spell in charge of the Great Britain rugby league side in 1996, led Wales to two World Cup semi-finals in 1995 and 2000 and the 55-year-old former St Helens player also coached at Warrington.

Harris - who is 12 months into a two-year coaching deal at National League One side Featherstone - also revealed that he is hoping to be part of the Celtic Crusaders' new-look coaching team following Dixon's departure.

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Harris had joined Hull KR coach Justin Morgan in Dixon's Wales backroom team but the former Wales forward has had to relinquish his Wales duties due to club commitments.

The former Leeds Rhinos and Bradford Bulls stand-off made 15 appearances for Great Britain and helped inspire Wales to successive semi-finals before retiring from playing last season.

Now the 33-year-old is set to inspire Wales' next generation as their coach - and the Welsh Rugby League are set to unveil him at a press conference on Tuesday.

"I've started on the coaching ladder and Wales is obviously something that it is very passionate to me," Harris told BBC Sport.

"It has been something that I've enjoyed playing for past 15 years and to go onto the next level on the coaching side of it would be fantastic."

Wales' players are due to report for Welsh camp on 12 October ahead of their clash with England at Bridgend's Brewery Field on 17 October.

Wales - who missed out on last year's Rugby League World Cup - will then face Serbia in the European Cup on the weekend of 24 October before Wales host Ireland at Sardis Road in Pontypridd on 1 November.

Wales' ranks will be been bolstered by new caps Castleford centre James Evans and Bradford second rower Glenn Morrison, who both qualify through Welsh grandparents.

Morrison will miss the England game because of a wedding in Australia but will return in time for the European Cup games which is run alongside the Four Nations series involving England, France, Australia and New Zealand.

"It is an important three or four games coming up," said Harris.



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see also
Harris hints at Crusaders switch
16 Sep 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Ex-Crusaders coach lands new job
15 Sep 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Dixon to leave Celtic Crusaders
12 Sep 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Morgan signs new Hull KR contract
07 Sep 09 |  Hull KR
Griffiths departs Worcester post
27 Jan 09 |  Worcester
Featherstone secure Harris deal
18 Sep 08 |  Rugby League
Bulls' Harris ponders retirement
13 Sep 08 |  Bradford
Harris takes Wales coaching role
18 Jun 08 |  Rugby League
Doncaster name Griffiths as coach
08 May 06 |  English
Harris retires from Britain duty
10 May 06 |  Rugby League
Griffiths saddened by Wales exit
05 May 06 |  Welsh
Griffiths cuts league ties
09 May 01 |  Welsh-Scottish Rugby


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