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Page last updated at 14:12 GMT, Wednesday, 14 October 2009 15:12 UK

Harris calls time on his career

Iestyn Harris
Harris has recently been named head coach of Wales

Wales coach Iestyn Harris has announced his retirement as a player following his appointment to the coaching staff of Celtic Crusaders.

The former dual-code international has been named assistant to new head coach Brian Noble, working alongside first-team coach Jon Sharp.

Harris, 33, has been released early from his contract at Championship club Featherstone, which had 12 months left.

"I certainly won't be playing from now on," explained Harris.

"I've had a great career and really enjoyed it, but you've got to move on.

"I felt pretty fresh as a player but I think this is the right decision."

Harris' rugby league career began at Warrington in 1994 before moving to Leeds Rhinos in 1997 for £350,000, and two years later became the first Leeds captain to lift silverware in 10 years - the Challenge Cup.

In the same year, he broke the club record for goals in a season with 168, and broke the 2,000 career points total in 2001.

It was then, that he sealed a switch to rugby union, joining Cardiff for £2m, where he spent the next three years and won 25 caps for Wales.

Harris returned to rugby league in 2004 joining the Bradford Bulls, and two years later, he retired from international rugby with Great Britain after making 15 appearances, but continued to play for Wales where he won 19 caps.

He was linked with a move to the Crusaders when they landed a place in Super League 12 months ago, but opted to continue playing and signed for Featherstone.

"To be involved in a Welsh team in Super League is pretty special," added Harris.

606: DEBATE

"I spoke to them last year but I didn't think it was right for me at the time.

"But I got really excited about Brian's plans with the Crusaders for the next two years and I felt I could add something to that.

"This was the first-choice job for me to start on the coaching ladder, and in the long term I aim to be a Super League head coach."

Harris recently succeeded axed Crusaders coach John Dixon in the role of Wales head coach, a position the Australian held at the same time as running the struggling Super League side.

And Harris believes the roles go together.

"They work hand in glove," he said. "I'll be able to keep a keen eye on all the young Welsh talent that is coming through."



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see also
Super League Show
17 Feb 08 |  Rugby League
Harris takes over as Wales coach
22 Sep 09 |  Rugby League
Featherstone secure Harris deal
18 Sep 08 |  Rugby League
Bradford & Leeds end Harris feud
07 May 08 |  Rugby League
Harris defends Bulls choice
15 Jul 04 |  My Club
Harris confirms code switch
17 Jun 04 |  My Club
Cardiff complete Harris capture
10 Aug 01 |  Welsh-Scottish Rugby


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