Rhinos snap up Hunwicks as new Performance Director

Leeds Rhinos have strengthened their back room team ahead of the 2022 Betfred Super League season appointing former England Rugby League Head of Human Performance Richard Hunwicks as the club’s new Performance Director.

Having been part of the Rhinos set up between 2007 and 2013, Hunwicks re-joins the Rhinos after fourseasons at Catalans Dragons. He will lead all areas of performance for the first-team squad working alongside Head Coach Richard Agar.

Commenting on his return to Emerald Headingley, Hunwicks said, “I am very pleased to be coming back to the Rhinos. Having spoken to Richard Agar, this was a great opportunity. It is going to be a fresh challenge to help this group of young players develop further. They are a vibrant squad with a great deal of potential who are a credit to the organisation, which continues to produce quality players. I have worked with some of the boys in various England sides and I know that the Rhinos’ mentality will be engrained into them.

“My first period with the Rhinos was massive for me in my early years of development. I have been fortunate to work with world-class players and coaches throughout my career, especially in the last four years at Catalans Dragons. I would like to thank the President Bernard Guasch, Steve McNamara and the whole club staff for the opportunity they gave me with the Dragons. I would like to thank especially the Catalan people, who have made me and my family feel so welcome. I will always be grateful for that and I hope I have repaid the faith they showed in me over the last few years. The Perpignan region will always have a fond place in the hearts of me and my family,” added Hunwicks.

Rhinos coach Agar is happy to see Hunwicks return to Headingley.

“We are delighted to have secured Richard’s return to the Rhinos, said Agar.

“He has a proven track record of success, in particular with England and Catalans Dragons in recent years. Personally, I am looking forward to working with him and seeing him develop our young players to fulfil their potential. He is used to working with world-class players and I know he will bring the very best out of our group. I know Richard will drive our high performance department to be the best it can possibly be.”

Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington commented, “We are delighted to bring Richard back to Emerald Headingley. He has been part of a key period of success at Catalans Dragons. We are pleased with the recruitment and retention we have done to build our squad for next season and we are looking forward to an important pre-season with Richard Hunwicks leading our preparations.”

The Rhinos are also in the process of appointing an experienced lead physiotherapist as well as other support staff. Club stalwart Jason Davidson will undertake a new management role, which will incorporate the team manager role with the first team, but also see him work alongside other Leeds Rhinos teams to raise standards across the organisation.

Hetherington added, “Jason Davidson has a wealth of experience, having been a central member of our coaching staff that has won seven Grand Finals. His new role will allow that experience to be shared with the other teams that we work with as Leeds Rhinos. Finally, I would like to thank our physiotherapist Ryan Flanagan, who has left the club at the end of the season.”