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Bradford Bulls job suits Francis Cummins
Resplendent in a smart grey suit, Francis Cummins looked every inch a Super League coach when he entered the top floor of the Coral Stand on Monday.
Moments later, when his inaugural press conference got underway, he sounded like one.
These past couple of weeks have been momentous for Bradford Bulls.
When Mick Potter informed Omar Khan that he was ready to leave Odsal for good and head home to Australia, discussion turned to who should succeed him.
The conversation will not have lasted long.
“Franny’s your man,” or words to that effect, would have sufficed.
Potter’s words were heeded, affording Cummins an opportunity to fulfil a long-held ambition.
Cummins spoke on Monday about the trauma of the 2012 campaign and how he was almost forced into labouring to make ends meet.
He even joked about doing a paper round or two to bring in some much-needed cash to the Cummins household.
Or at least I think he was joking.
But sometimes in life you get what you deserve and his appointment was vindication of all those weeks spent working without pay.
That and an apprenticeship stretching back almost 20 years.
“I’ve coached since I was 16, with schools and other bits, my amateur club, so I knew what I wanted to do,” said Cummins, who at 35 is poised to be the youngest coach in Super League next year.
“I retired on my 29th birthday because I had the chance to work with Tony Smith and Brian McDermott (at Leeds). It was an opportunity for me to jump into the next bit of my life and become a coach.
“I had to take that opportunity and, when Brian went to Harlequins after six months, it catapulted me into the number two job.”
Cummins was also right-hand man to Brian McClennan, Smith’s successor at Headingley, before joining Potter at Bradford two years ago.
The RFL sent him on a bursary to Australia to pick up tips from, among others, Tony Smith’s older Brian, who lists Bradford among his host of top-flight clubs.
Cummins has delved into other sports and even picked the brains of Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
He explained: “You need to speak to other people. I’ve got people who are in business I can go to and I speak to religious people.
“I went to see Alex Ferguson in 2008 and it was amazing just to spend time there.
“It really backs up what you’re about. I would always encourage any of my staff to go out and see other sports, talk to other people.
“That’s where your real education is. Will I continue to do that? Without doubt.”