Rugby

Wolfpack, coach Rowley mutually agree to part ways after solid season

Coach Paul Rowley, who brought the Toronto Wolfpack to within one win of promotion to the elite Super League, is leaving the transatlantic rugby league team.

Transatlantic rugby league team fell 1 win shy of promotion to elite Super League

Wolfpack head coach Paul Rowley has mutually agreed to part ways with the transatlantic rugby squad after it missed automatic promotion to the Super League on point differential this past season. (Neil Davidson/Canadian Press/File)

Coach Paul Rowley, who brought the Toronto Wolfpack to within one win of promotion to the elite Super League, is leaving the transatlantic rugby league team.

The club said the decision was mutual.

The former England hooker helped create the club from nothing, assembling a squad that topped England's third-tier League 1 in 2017 and the second-tier Championship in 2018. Rowley's record at the Wolfpack helm was a glittering 53-7-3.

The Wolfpack missed automatic promotion to the Super League on points difference before losing a promotion playoff dubbed the Million Pound Game 4-2 to London Broncos on Oct. 7.

Brian Noble, Toronto's director of rugby, said Rowley had asked to "review his position" at the end of the 2018 season when his contract was up.

'Unique experience'

"This role is one of the most challenging jobs in sport not only due to the on-field pressures, where Paul has been hugely successful, but also in leading a transatlantic team treading new ground in the world of sport," Noble said in a statement.

The 43-year-old Rowley, thanking Wolfpack fans on both sides of the Atlantic, wished the team well.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Wolfpack," he said in the team statement. "It has been a unique experience for me and I feel the club has been a breath of fresh air for our game as a whole.

"I have been considering my position throughout the season as this is not just any coaching job, and I feel now is the right time for myself and the club to make a change."

Co-owner downplays rumours

The Wolfpack were recently linked in a British report to former Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott, fired in July midway through a season that saw the reigning Super League champions have to fight for their place in the top-flight. McDermott won four Grand Finals, two Challenge Cups and a World Club Challenge in eight years with Leeds.

Asked about the report, Wolfpack co-owner David Argyle said in October that the team had had "no discussions with any other coaches."

"I'm not sure where those rumours come from," he added.

The Wolfpack are slated to open training camp later this month in England.

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