ACTING Saints head coach Mike Rush insists he has no ambition to take on the role on a permanent basis.
The 36-year-old Rush, who has worked for St Helens since September 1999 largely in a development role, has been put in charge of Saints following the surprise sacking of Australian Royce Simmons and assistant coach Kieron Purtill.
Rush and former captain Keiron Cunningham have been tasked with getting Saints’ Stobart Super League campaign back on track after a run of five games with a win, their worst sequence since 1985 which has seen the club drop out of the top eight.
Their first game will be a Grand Final re-match with Leeds at Langtree Park on Sunday, when Rush expects to welcome back England hooker James Roby from a two-match absence with a leg-muscle tear.
Addressing his first press conference at Langtree Park, Rush admitted he was surprised to get the news of Simmons’ departure from St Helens chairman Eammon McManus.
“It was a shock and it’s sad but at the end of the day we’ve got a game on Sunday and myself, Keiron, Paul Wellens and the other senior players have to get on and try and win a game,” he said.
“Eamonn asked me to do what’s right for the club at this moment in time and, with Eamonn, you don’t get a choice.
“It’s temporary. It could be one game, it could be two or three games, it depends on how long it takes the club to the position of appointing the next head coach.”
The appointment is open-ended as Saints begin their search for a long-term successor to Simmons but Rush, who is credited with helping bring through the ranks players such as Roby, James Graham and Jonny Lomax, is hoping to return to his day job as quickly as possible.
“My role is developing players, it’s with the kids and that’s what I want to do,” said Rush, a one-time teacher who was assistant to head coach Daniel Anderson in 2008.
“That’s where I believe my strengths are and where my ambitions lie.
“I’ve got my own career pathway. My passion is in trying to develop the next generation of Saints players and I’ll be returning to that once Eamonn and the board appoint a new head coach.
“I’ve always helped any head coach we’ve had here. I ended up helping Daniel Anderson for a full year when Alan Wilson went home.
“I didn’t give up my other job, much to the wife’s moaning, I tried to juggle two things and get it done to the best of my ability, That’s what I’ll do now. I’m going to watch the Under-15s and Under-16s play at Warrington tomorrow.”