McRae favourite to take charge at South Sydney

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The Independent Online

Shaun McRae says he wants to stay with Hull, despite being described in Australia as the favourite for the newly vacant coaching job at South Sydney.

Shaun McRae says he wants to stay with Hull, despite being described in Australia as the favourite for the newly vacant coaching job at South Sydney.

His close associate, Shane Richardson, who took him to Gateshead and later to Hull, was the surprise appointment yesterday as the new chief executive of Souths, the bottom club in the National Rugby League.

The theory is that he will persuade McRae, the only man to be employed continuously as a head coach throughout the nine seasons of Super League, to join him at Souths next year.

"I can understand the speculation, because of my links with Shane, but I've not spoken to anybody and I'm happy at Hull," said McRae, whose contract with the club expires at the end of this season.

"We have a board meeting next week, at which I hope to discuss a new contract, and I want to stay." A former assistant coach to both the Australian and New Zealand national sides, McRae started the Super League era in charge of St Helens before he became Richardson's right-hand man at Gateshead and Hull.

Another high-profile job has fallen vacant with the departure of Daniel Anderson from the New Zealand Warriors. He will stay in charge of the Kiwi Test team, with the former Castleford and Leeds player Tony Kemp in caretaker charge of the club.

Wigan again opted to keep their Kiwi prop, Quentin Pongia, out of the limelight for the game at home to St Helens tonight. Pongia has not played since the revelations that he is suffering from Hepatitis B, although the club insist their medical advice is that he is not infectious.

He could make a quieter return in a non-televised game, although that could be complicated by players at some Super League clubs telling their coaches they would be reluctant to take the field against him.

Saints hope to have Keiron Cunningham and Jon Wilkin fit tonight for a derby which they are strong favourites to win. Adrian Lam is likely to start for Wigan despite being hauled off at Warrington last week and Danny Orr should recover from a leg knock.

The other big domestic derby, Bradford against Leeds, could be set to draw a Super League record crowd to Odsal tomorrow. Advance ticket sales have topped 22,000. The same fixture in 1999 was watched by a record 24,020.

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