Houston SabeCats & Neil Kelly
The Houston SaberCats have signed Neil Kelly Defense Coach for the 2019 Major League Rugby season. The 56-year-old Kelly is from Wakefield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England. Kelly has an impressive rugby resume as a rugby league player and rugby league and union coach.
As a rugby league player, he was a loose forward and a hooker. He played for the Dewsbury Rams from 1984-1986 and again from 1989-1991. In the 1985-1986 season he was with the Featherstone Rovers, in 1986-1987 with Wakefield Trinity, and from 1987-1989 with the Hunslet Hawks.
Kelly’s rugby union coaching resume includes being the defense coach with Ulster Rugby from 2004-2008, an Assistant coach with Doncaster RFC in 2010, and an Assistant Coach with Namibia in 2011 in preparation for the Rugby World Cup.
His rugby league coaching resume brought him back to the Dewsbury Rams from 1995-2001 and again in 2017-2018. He also was the head coach of the Widnes Vikings from 2001-2004 where he received the Super League Coach of the Year award for 2002. He was also the head coach of the Leigh Centurions from 2008-2010.
Neil Kelly brings a wealth of rugby experience to Houston, as he joins the team as the Defense Coach for the 2019 Major League Rugby season.
Houston SaberCats Comments
Justin Fitzpatrick, Head Coach of the Houston SaberCats said, “I am excited to be welcoming Coach Kelly to the Houston SaberCats, having worked both with and against him with Ulster and Romania, respectively. I know personally what a great student of the game he is and what expertise he brings to the Defense. I am excited to welcome Neil to Houston and to be working with him again.
Niel Kelly added that “major League Rugby, represents one of the most exciting initiatives in World Rugby and the prospect of joining one of its founding teams, the Houston SaberCats, was too great an opportunity to miss. Everything that Justin Fitzpatrick told me about the city, the people, and most importantly, the club, has convinced me that the SaberCats are well on the way towards maturing into a real force within the MLR. I am really looking forward to playing my part in developing a team that is capable of making the people of Houston proud.”