Iestyn Harris demands 'a lot of work' at Crusaders

Iestyn Harris
Iestyn Harris made 13 appearances for Great Britain's rugby league side

Iestyn Harris admits Super League status came too soon for the Crusaders, but the departing coach believes rugby league still has a future in Wales.

The Welsh franchise ended a three-year stay with a 42-10 defeat at second placed Wigan to collect Super League's wooden spoon for the second time.

Owners of the troubled club withdrew an application for a new Super League licence because of financial concerns.

"There has got to be a lot of work done behind the scenes," said Harris.

"There's an argument to say it was fast-tracked a little bit too soon."

The Crusaders hope to play in the Championship, rugby league's second tier, next season now their troubled stay in the top flight is over.

The Wrexham-based club celebrated a first appearance in the play-offs last season but Crusaders have endured more torment than joy.

Harris, who is also Welsh rugby's league national coach, was appointed to Brian Noble's backroom staff when the club moved from Bridgend to Wrexham in 2009.

Crusaders have also suffered well-documented visa issues and cash flow trouble as they had a winding-up order dismissed in 2010.

If the Racecourse Ground team enter the part-time Championship in 2012, it will be with a different coach and, almost certainly, an entirely new set of players.

But Welsh rugby dual-code international Harris, who enjoyed one year as a top-flight coach since replacing Noble in 2010, is hopeful that Super League rugby will one day return to Wales.

"There's a really good structure in place in south Wales at the moment," said former Great Britain stand off Harris.

"There are some very good kids playing the game of rugby league and there's some excitement about the game in south Wales.

"It was our job to try to build that excitement in the north of Wales with the kids and we had just started that process. It's important we don't lose that.

"We have to make sure there is a pathway into Super League for the youngsters and a long-term vision to have a Super League club again.

"When that will be, we're not sure but certainly there are a lot of quality kids playing the game."