Eagles’ Aston doubles up as new Ireland coach

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MARK Aston has a new job as head coach of the Irish national rugby league team but will continue as boss of Sheffield Eagles.

The dual-role was announced in Sheffield yesterday and Aston will lead the Irish in the 2013 World Cup to be played in England.

Aston has no worries about fitting in international duties with his responsibilities at the Eagles.

He said: “There’ll be no problems combining the two jobs, I’ve gone into the job with my eyes wide open and I wouldn’t have committed if I didn’t think I could do it. I’ve got the support of the Sheffield Eagles’ directors and I won’t be in Ireland every week, its about planning to be there at the right times.”

Aston replaces long-serving Andy Kelly, who was axed in March as part of a major reshuffle of the Wolfhounds’ coaching team.

Kelly, a Wakefield player and coach, had been involved with Ireland for 11 years and took them to the quarter-finals of the last World Cup but recent results have been poor.

Aston will first take charge of the Irish team when they face Scotland in the European Cup in Glasgow in October.

Before then he will be getting together a coaching team and it’s likely he will try to persuade Eagles assistant coach Mick Cook to join him.

A key part of Aston’s job brief will be to revamp and expand the coach network in Ireland and his success in establishing a development structure at the Eagles was a big factor in his appointment.