Wigan have unveiled Shaun Wane as their new coach, with a promise to take an already successful club on to the next level. The club's chairman, Ian Lenagan, announced a "best of British" coaching structure at the DW Stadium, with Iestyn Harris as No 2 and Paul Deacon retiring from playing to take charge of the under-18s and under-20s.
"There's definitely room for improvement at this club," said Wane, the former Wigan prop, who was assistant to Michael Maguire for the last two highly successful seasons.
"It is a proud day for me. I watched Wigan from being 10 years old. I dreamed of this opportunity and I'm going to make sure I make the best of it," said Wane, who has agreed a two-year contract with a further one-year option.
"I want to make sure that we play every game the best we can and I don't feel that we did that this season. I'm a perfectionist and I demand that players perform to their best week after week."
Wane played for Wigan for 10 years and was man of the match when they beat Manly in the first World Club Challenge in 1987. He also played for Great Britain, Leeds and Workington, before joining the Wigan coaching staff in 2003. Since then, he has played a major role in the development of players such as the Tomkins brothers, Joel and Sam, although he was philosophical about the possible departure of the former to Saracens. "I want the quality of our players to be such that other clubs want them," he said.
Lenagan would not comment on the impending signing of Gareth Thomas, but Wane said he was "comfortable" with the squad he is inheriting, even with the loss of Deacon from the pitch and the likely defection of Tomkins. That was another issue on which Lenagan played a straight bat, but he did indicate that any movements to rugby union would be part of two-way traffic, with Wigan targeting young players from the other code.
Harris, with his union experience, could be a factor in that policy. He said that he was happy to take an apparent step backwards by becoming an assistant again after being in charge last season at Crusaders.
St Helens' half-back, Jonny Lomax, is out of England's Four Nations squad with an ankle ligament problem that requires surgery. He is replaced by Leeds' Danny McGuire.