RICHARD AGAR, who began his coaching career with York City Knights back in 2004, will be given an opportunity to become Leeds Rhinos’ permanent boss following the shock sacking of David Furner.

Furner, 48, was only six months into a three-year contract after succeeding Brian McDermott but he managed just four wins from his 14 games in charge.

Leeds say they took the decision to “go in a fresh direction” following the 28-16 defeat at Salford last Friday which left the 2017 Super League champions third from bottom in the table.

Leeds director of rugby Kevin Sinfield said: “This was a very difficult decision and not one we have taken lightly.

“David was an outstanding candidate to be our head coach and was my first choice for the job.

“Unfortunately, we have not started the season as we had all hoped and action was needed to move in a fresh direction with this group of players this season.”

The move comes four days before the Rhinos play Bradford in the sixth round of the Challenge Cup for which the experienced Agar will be in charge.

Agar, 47, had one entertaining year at York before taking over at Hull then Wakefield. He then became number two to Tony Smith at Warrington and was also in charge of France from 2013 to 2015.

A former Featherstone, Dewsbury and Widnes stand-off, he spent 12 months as the head of player pathways at NRL club St George Illawarra before joining Leeds in a newly-created role of head of player and coach development in December.

He was then drafted onto Furner’s coaching team when James Lowes left the club in April and is now interim head coach.

Castleford coach Daryl Powell - a coaching consultant in York’s boot room in 2005 alongside Agar’s replacement as coach, Mick Cook - has distanced himself from the vacancy at his old club.

Powell is fifth favourite with Super League sponsors Betfred at 8-1 to take over from Furner but he is under contract to the Tigers until the end of 2020 and insists he wants to win a major trophy in his time with his local club.

Richard Marshall, who left Halifax 10 days ago, is the 4-1 favourite, with Agar and ex-Wigan coach Shaun Wane rated 11-2.