Mitch Garbutt Named Head Coach at French Club Avignon: Rugby League News

Former Leeds Rhinos Powerhouse Mitch Garbutt Secures Head Coaching Role at French Club Avignon

In a significant move for French rugby league, Mitch Garbutt, a former standout for the Leeds Rhinos, has been appointed as the new head coach of SO Avignon. This announcement is part of a broader strategic initiative aimed at bolstering the sport’s presence in the region.

Garbutt, who joined the Rhinos midway through their triumphant 2015 season, played a pivotal role in the club’s success that year. He was also a key member of the squad that secured the 2017 Super League Grand Final title. Following his time with Leeds, Garbutt went on to have spells with Hull KR and Toulouse Olympique before joining the St. Gaudens Bears as a player-coach. In his debut season with the Bears, he led the team’s charge into the Elite One playoff contention.

Now, Garbutt has taken on his next challenge, as he prepares to join SO Avignon ahead of the 2025 season. Avignon finished just above Garbutt’s former Bears side in the 2024 campaign, narrowly missing out on a playoff berth. The decision to appoint Garbutt is part of a wider strategic partnership between Avignon and the Super League club, Hull KR. This collaboration is expected to foster international cooperation and potentially facilitate a player development exchange program between the two organizations.

“Younes Khattabi, the Avignon President, highlighted Garbutt’s existing relationship with Hull KR and his extensive knowledge of the French Elite One system as key factors in his selection as the new head coach.”

This appointment signifies an exciting new era for both Avignon and the growth of rugby league in France, while also potentially marking the beginning of a promising coaching career for one of Leeds Rhinos’ decorated former players.

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