McRae promoted after Hull reshuffle

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The Independent Online

Shaun McRae, the only man to hold down a first-team coaching job throughout the Super League era, has been promoted to become Hull's first director of rugby.

McRae, who has also agreed a two-year extension to his contract to keep him at the club until 2004, will still be their head coach, but his assistant, Tony Anderson, will be given a higher profile. "Tony has been with me for the last three years and it is time for him to spread his wings," McRae said. "I see him as a future head coach."

The elevation of McRae, previously coach at St Helens and Gateshead, is part of a wider re-organisation at Hull, following the departure of their chief executive, Shane Richardson, who takes on a similar job at the Australian club, Penrith.

Hull's first playing commitment under their new arrangements is against Wigan in the testimonial match for the Great Britain captain, Andy Farrell, on 30 January.

That game will mark the Wigan debuts of two of their overseas signings, Jamie Ainscough and Julian O'Neill, but not of the third, Craig Smith, who has one match to serve of a suspension imposed while he was still with his Australian club, St George-Illawarra.

The same night, Leeds have agreed to play at Cougar Park, Keighley, for the first time in 27 years, in a testimonial for Jason Ramshaw. The hooker has played more than 250 games for the Cougars since 1992.

Penrith Panthers' unbeaten touring Under-18 side face their toughest challenge of the tour tonight, against a Barla Presidents' XIII at Salford.

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