Bulls coach McNamara quits after eight-match losing run

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The Independent Online

Steve Mcnamara has walked away from his club job at Bradford and will now concentrate full-time on coaching England. McNamara was supposed to be combining the two roles for the rest of this season, but the Bulls' dismal run of eight defeats in a row has forced a rethink on both sides.

"There's a lot of work to be done and I'm very excited that I now have the chance to concentrate all my energies on England," he said of his departure.

"The RFL wanted me to do the job full-time when I was appointed back in April, but the Bulls thought it was in their best interests if I stayed on and I was more than happy to do so."

The former Hull, Bradford and Great Britain forward succeeded Brian Noble at Odsal in 2006, but has struggled to maintain the standards to which the club were accustomed.

Last season the Bulls missed the Super League play-offs for the first time and their latest defeat to Harlequins left them 10th in the table. McNamara's assistant, Lee St Hilaire, has been put in charge for the rest of the season, starting with Sunday's game at home to Salford.

Bradford hope to name Mick Potter as the permanent successor by the end of this week. Potter, the St Helens coach, had intended to return to Australia at the end of this season, but has had a change of heart.

The Bulls have denied any connection between their vacancy and the sudden announcement that Francis Cummins and Willie Poching are leaving Leeds' coaching staff.

Castleford have confirmed that they have signed the Warrington full-back, Richie Mathers, on a three-year contract from next season.

He faces competition for his favoured position at The Jungle from Richard Owen, six years his junior at 20, but Cas say Mathers will act as a role model for the younger player.

Liam Colbon is back in Hull KR's squad to play Hull tomorrow, after a 14-match absence with jaw and knee injuries. Sam Moa is back in contention for Hull.

The Salford prop, Ryan Boyle, has been suspended for one match after being sent off at Wigan for a high tackle.

Wigan have sold over 20,000 tickets for Friday night's top-of-the-table match against Warrington.