Sunderland exits as Gaffney takes Barrow director of rugby post

Barrow Raiders have appointed Andy Gaffney as director of rugby following Mike Sunderland's decision to step down from the post with immediate effect.

Sunderland cited work commitments as the reason for his departure from the role and the board of directors following his appointment last winter.

"It has brought me great pride being heavily involved in forming the coaching staff and team," he said.

"I have enjoyed my positions of vice-chairman and director of rugby."

Raiders have already sealed promotion back to the Championship, less than a year after the club were relegated and handed penalties for a breach of the salary cap under the former owner Des Johnston.

Difficulties faced by the incoming board were overcome, and under the combination of player-coach Darren Holt and assistant Phil Atkinson, Barrow are in with a shout of the title.

"The success on the field has been driven by pride and commitment from both the coaching staff and players," Sunderland added.

"I had no idea where Barrow Raiders would finish this season within the Championship, but working with Darren and Phil on the team structure, I knew we would be competitive.

"To recover from the ashes of the 2011 season and gain promotion has been a fantastic achievement.

"Not only for the club but for all the loyal fans that make Barrow one of the best supported teams outside Super League."