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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 April 2006, 16:06 GMT 17:06 UK
Coach Millward sacked by Warriors
Ian Millward
Millward has had a turbulent time with the Warriors
Wigan coach Ian Millward has been sacked with immediate effect following the club's dismal start to the season.

The Warriors are bottom of the Super League table after winning just one of their first eight league games.

Assistant coaches Stuart Wilkinson and Andrew Farrar will take charge of team affairs on a temporary basis.

Australian Millward, 45, only took over at the JJB Stadium on a three-year contract last May after being sacked by St Helens for gross misconduct.

Ironically, Millward's sacking comes just three days before he was due to return to Knowsley Road with Wigan for the annual Good Friday derby.

His dismissal will cost Wigan around 400,000 in compensation but they clearly ran out of patience.

A statement said: "Following a meeting of the board of directors earlier today, the Wigan club can confirm that head coach Ian Millward has been dismissed with immediate effect.

"Ian will be leaving the club today and team affairs will be managed in the short term by the assistant coaches Stuart Wilkinson and Andrew Farrar.

"The club will be appointing a new head coach to replace Ian Millward and an announcement will be made in the near future."

Former Australia coach Chris Anderson, who also had a spell as boss of Newport Gwent Dragons union side, could be in the frame to replace Millward.

Wigan legend Shaun Edwards and former Warriors star Adrian Lam are also possibilities.

Edwards remains a big favourite with the fans, although he has forged a name for himself in rugby union in recent years.

The former scrum-half, a member of the all-conquering Wigan side of the 1980s and 1990s, is currently head coach of top English side Wasps.

When asked by BBC Sport if he would be interested in a return to Wigan, Edwards refused to be drawn.

"I'm contracted to Wasps and have nothing to say about it," he said. "I'm pretty happy here at the moment."

Lam is also regarded highly. He is currently an assistant to former Wigan boss Stuart Raper at NRL side Cronulla Sharks.

Millward was seen as the saviour of Wigan following his arrival at the JJB Stadium last May.

He guided St Helens to five major trophies in five years, including two Super League Grand Finals, two Challenge Cup finals and the 2001 World Club Challenge.

I am not surprised because Wigan are bottom of the league and desperate times call for desperate measures
Martin Offiah

But he could not work his magic with the Warriors, although his cause was not helped by injuries and the loss of several big names.

The club failed to make the play-offs last season and have struggled to make their mark in 2006, although they are through to the last 16 of the Challenge Cup.

Millward's last act as Wigan coach was to oversee his side's 40-14 defeat at fellow strugglers Wakefield last Friday.

Former Wigan star Martin Offiah said the news of Millward's departure was not entirely unexpected.

"I am shocked because it is Ian Millward and you don't expect a coach with such a great record to get the bullet like that," he told BBC Sport.

"But in the bigger scheme of things I am not surprised because Wigan are bottom of the league and desperate times call for desperate measures.

"They have given him a bit of time. If they had beaten Wakefield last week he probably would still be in a job."

Wigan have now had six coaches in seven years since Maurice Lindsay returned to the club as chairman.

Millward is the second Super League coach to be sacked this month following Hull's decision to part company with John Kear, a former assistant coach at Wigan.




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Report: BBC Sport's Dave Woods



SEE ALSO
Wakefield 40-14 Wigan
07 Apr 06 |  Super League


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