Noble expects to lose role in RFL shake-up

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Brian Noble has given the strongest indication so far that he expects to be replaced as Great Britain coach by a full-time appointee. Noble, who also coaches Wigan, met the Rugby League's executive chairman, Richard Lewis, yesterday and emerged with a suspicion that his days are numbered.

"There might be an intimation that they will decide to go down the full-time route," he said. "It's within their rights. I've done six years and sacrificed a lot of things, so there would be disappointment."

If the RFL does decide against renewing Noble's contract, it could turn to the former St Helens and Hull coach Shaun McRae, who is available after resigning as director of coaching at South Sydney.

Sean Long has said that he has no regrets about walking out on Noble's Great Britain side at the Tri-Nations last autumn and hinted that he is unlikely to play for his country again.

Long cast doubt on his participation against New Zealand this year by saying: "I've got to listen to my body. I'm 30 and maybe it's in the interests of prolonging my career if I don't play."

Long came home mid-way through the tournament, citing exhaustion and the impending birth of his second daughter, Seini.