SAINTS assistant Sean Long is to leave the club with immediate effect to take up a coaching role at Harlequins RU.
He will take up his new post with the London club on July 8, where his task will be to work on running lines and creating space for the Quins attack.
It will leave a hole — but Saints already have quality in the backroom team and have been tipped to bring in a replacement, with former Halifax boss Richard Marshall heavily linked.
As a player Long enjoyed a glittering 13-season career at Saints in which he won two World Club Challenges, four Grand Finals and five Challenge Cups and was named Lance Todd winner a record three times.
Long left the Saints in 2009 to join Hull FC, before having coaching stints at Wigan, Salford, London, Featherstone Rovers and Samoa before returning to the Saints in 2014 as an assistant coach under Keiron Cunningham following Saints’ Grand Final success.

St Helens Star:
He was one of the trio who acted as interim coaches when Cunningham departed and then became Justin Holbrook’s assistant.
 Long said: “I have had 18 memorable years at St Helens both as a player and as a coach. 
“Working under Justin Holbrook has been a pleasure, but I have always had a desire to work in rugby union and this opportunity at Harlequins is one I cannot let pass me by.
“I want to pay thanks to the whole club, to Eamonn, Mike, Justin, all the players and of course the fans for everything they have done for me.
“I wish the club all the success this season and beyond and I will always be a Saint at heart.”

St Helens Star:
Holbrook said: “Longy has been a pleasure to work with. He is a legend of this club and everyone loves him. We are naturally disappointed to be losing such an influential figure at St.Helens, but I wish him all the best for his next adventure at Harlequins.”
Mike Rush, Chief Executive at St.Helens said: “I want to thanks Sean for everything he has done at the club both as a player and more recently as a coach. 
“He has been a great addition to the club’s coaching team. It is with a heavy heart that we have to let him go, but Sean has expressed a desire to work in rugby union in recent months and the club all wish him every success in the future.”
In the short term it is likely Paul Wellens will take on a greater role but the club will be making an announcement on a new assistant coach in due course, with Marshall heavily linked. 
Commenting on the appointment Harlequins Head of Rugby Paul Gustard said: “I have been looking at adding a coach to assist with some of the finer detail around running lines and creating numerical advantages for some time now and I am delighted that Sean has decided to join Quins ahead of other Premiership options as he takes his first foray into coaching union.

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“From an early age, rugby league players have core skill acquisition engrained in their developmental pathway. The skill fundamentals of catch pass, tackling and running lines take precedence over what shape your team plays and they are the key and critical transferable skills which are required in union.
“As a player, Sean was a stand-out amongst his peers and perhaps his greatest strength, despite all his talent, is his competitive desire. We can see with the performance of St Helens this year the impact he is now having as a coach with their attack as they compete at the top of Super League and enter into the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup after a 40-point thrashing over Wakefield.

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“We welcome Longy and his partner Sally-Ann to Harlequins and look forward to the contribution he will make as we look to build on last season’s improvements.”