‘I’ve had a couple of conversations’ – Danny Ward sets sights on coaching return

Danny Ward has spoken of his desire to get back into coaching – and revealed he is open to opportunities in league and union.

The former Leeds Rhinos prop was sacked by London Broncos at the start of July, having informed the club he would be leaving at the end of the 2021 campaign.

London opted to end his tenure early but Ward won many admirers during his time at the capital, having steered the Broncos into Super League in 2018.

They were immediately relegated back to the Championship in 2019 with a record 10 wins and Ward went on to serve as one of Wayne Bennett’s assistants during Great Britain’s tour of the southern hemisphere.

Ward has seen his former assistant Jamie Langley, and ex-Leeds team-mate Kevin Sinfield, make moves to Premiership rugby union outfits Sale Sharks and Leicester Tigers in recent weeks.

“I’m looking at all options right now,” Ward told Rugby League Live.

“I’ve been down in London for 14 years and this is my home – my kids were born and raised here and absolutely love living here.

“But at the same time, all the rugby league jobs are up north apart from the Broncos.

“The dilemma then is whether to move my family back up north and uproot everything, or look at other coaching options down south.

“I’ve had a couple of conversations in league and union, but at the moment I’m enjoying time with my family during the six-week summer holiday.

“It’s something I’ve never really had before due to my rugby commitments.

“As I had decided I was leaving the Broncos at the end of the year, that was something I had got my head around anyway.

“It came quicker than expected when I got released, but I can at least now give something back to a family who have given so much to my career for such a long period. It’s just about working out the next chapter now.”

Ward, 41, can see the appeal of working in the 15-a-side code and following in the footsteps of so many established rugby league men.

From Andy Farrell to Shaun Edwards, Phil Larder, Graham Steadman, Mike Ford, Paul Deacon and Mike Forshaw, the list of ‘leagueys’ who have made their mark in union is endless.

“Rugby union has changed over the years and a lot of league men have had joy coaching in that code,” said Ward.

“There are lots of areas which cross over from league to union so I enjoy watching both games and always have done.

“I played union at school and it’s fantastic to see so many league lads being a success in the so-called rival code.

“I’ve always been interested in developing youngsters and coaching kids has always been a passion of mine. It’s about finding a role which works best for me.”

Ward is not adverse to serving as an assistant coach, despite having enjoyed significant success as a head coach at London.

“I’ve only been a head coach for three or four years, so I’ve still plenty to learn and I enjoyed being an assistant coach previously,” he said.

“I still think of myself as quite young for a coach and if the right opportunity came along to work with the right head coach, then that could be great for my development as well.”

Ward will look to visit a number of clubs to tap into the ideas of other coaches as part of his personal development and desire to return to rugby.

He said: “I plan to spend some time with different coaches and clubs in different environments.

“I aim to use the time wisely and I’m hoping to see Langers up at Sale.

“I’ve been to Ealing Trailfinders before and would like to go in there again because they’re a very ambitious club with a very exciting project.

“It’s not just rugby league and union either, I think as a coach you’re forever looking at a lot of elite sports and seeing what you can learn and what can cross over and can be adapted.

“It’s about spending time with as many different people as possible.”

Rugby League Live revealed in May how former Bradford Bulls star Langley had secured a newly-created role as Peak Performance Coach at ambitious Sale.

Ward added: “Langers is a fantastic coach and a great bloke as well.

“He’s a smart fella who I’m sure will do a fantastic job at Sale.

“I speak to him quite a lot and it sounds like they’re building something pretty special there.

“With Langers involved, I think it would be worth sticking a few quid on Sale winning the title next year. They certainly won’t be far away.

“Compared to rugby league, the facilities and resources in union are next level, and it’s hard to see that changing.

“Union is growing so much all the time so you can understand why lads like Langers and Kev are looking for these kind of opportunities.”

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