Former Warrington prop Paul Wood has been named as Leigh’s new full-time strength and conditioning coach.
Wood, 34, joins the Centurions backroom staff after calling time on his illustrious playing career.
After signing for Warrington Wolves in 1999, Wood made his first team debut a year later and went on to forge a reputation as one of the most consistent forwards at the top level of the game, making a total of 309 Super League appearances for the Wolves between 2000 and 2014.
The Wigan born forward played a major role in Warrington’s successes after leaving their old Wilderspool home and becoming established at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, memorably scoring two tries in the Wolves’ victory over Wakefield on the stadium opening night in 2004.
Wood won Challenge Cup winners’ medals with the Wolves in 2010 and 2012 and played in the Warrington side that reached the 2012 and 2013 Super League grand finals. He earned worldwide media attention by demonstrating his toughness by playing on (and then conducting post match interviews with the media) in the 2012 final against Leeds despite a ruptured testicle that required immediate surgery after the game.
After making 338 appearances in all games for Warrington and earning England international honours against France and New Zealand in 2005 Wood joined Featherstone Rovers for the 2015 Kingstone Press Championship season and originally planned to join Swinton Lions for the 2016 season, but he has now decided to pursue his new career path and take up an exciting appointment.
Leigh coach Paul Rowley said: “I’d like to welcome Paul to the coaching staff and look forward to working with him.”
Leigh head of rugby Derek Beaumont said: “It is equally as important as signing players as to identify areas that can be improved in catering for their needs and getting the most out of the extended time our staff are afforded with them.
“Last year was our first as a full-time operation and we all learned a lot from it and it was agreed that we could do with an experienced pair of hands adding to Nathan Pennington’s team. Paul Rowley identified Paul as a candidate and when we discussed it as a group he had all the credentials.
“A large majority of successful conditioners are former players who have been there and done it and Paul has done it at the highest level, so brings a lot of experience and immediately has the respect of the group.
“He also owns a gym in the town which is a natural asset we can tap into. It is important to invest in the off-field team to maximise the investment on it and Paul is a good solid addition to our family.”