Emotional Rinaldi targets future coaching role at Wakefield Wildcats

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JULIEN Rinaldi admits he’ll be emotional when pulling on a Wakefield Wildcats shirt for the final time tomorrow night but hopes it won’t be the last time he’s involved with the Rapid Solicitors Stadium club.

The hooker has penned a two-year deal with Harlequins for 2012 and will play his last game in the red, white and blue when Bradford Bulls visit Belle Vue tomorrow night (kick-off 8pm).

The 32-year-old is likely to end his playing career on completion of his Quins contract but is looking to move into coaching - and would jump at the chance to take on such a role at Wakefield.

“I’m at the stage where I don’t have a lot of years left to play, so I have these two years at Harlequins and after that I want to focus on coaching,” he said.

“I’ll go wherever there’s an opportunity to do that but hopefully Wakefield will be one of them and it will be one of my decisions.”

He continued: “I spoke to [Wildcats chief executive] James Elston a few times and he’s mentioned that one day after I’ve finished I should keep in touch because I want to help the club in whatever way I can.

“I’m leaving at the end of the season but I have really good relations with everyone here so hopefully one day I can come back and help however I can.”

Rinaldi, who will return to Twickenham Stoop after spending two years there between 2007-09, admits he’d have liked to have stayed a Wildcat beyond this season.

But uncertainty over the future of Wakefield in Super League forced him into making an early decision on his future - a decision which saw him join Quins.

“I always wanted to stay but the licence announcement came late and at the end of the day you want to secure the future for you and your family,” he admitted.

“You take the opportunities when they come and my decision was made a little bit before that [franchise announcement] so there’s a little bit of regret but at the end of the day you have to do that.

“I’ll be sad to leave, definitely, but maybe in another job I can come back and do a bit of coaching.”

The French international is one of a number of people featuring in their final game for the club when the Bulls visit tomorrow.

Head coach John Kear will leave after five years with the club, while Jeremy Smith, Ben Gledhill and Kyle Amor will all play their final games for Wakefield.

There are also questions marks over the futures of a whole host of players, including captain Glenn Morrison and Semi Tadulala.

And Rinaldi is hoping he and his team-mates can finish the season with a victory and avoid finishing bottom of Super League.

He said: “I think it will be the last game for a few players and some are going maybe to retire so maybe that’s a bit more special.

“You just want to finish on a high note, especially for everyone here. For the club, for the players who are leaving, for John especially, who has spent five years here and has done a great job. We want to really finish well and just get higher up the table.

“It’ll be a really emotional day tomorrow for a few people and the main thing is that we don’t want to finish at the bottom of the table.

“In the dressing room at the start when you see all the boys for the last time it’s going to be tough. You see all the faces and it’ll be the last time in your life that you will play with these blokes but when you’re on the pitch you want to do your job, try your best and really enjoy your last 80 minutes an hopefully finish with a win.”

See this week’s Wakefield Express Sport for all the latest Wakefield Wildcats news.