Wayne Bennett to continue as England head coach after historic World Cup run

The former Australia coach has won many admirers for the way he turned England into a competitive force after a dismal 2016 Four Nations

Ian Laybourn
Friday 16 February 2018 14:52
Comments
Confirmation of the reappointment of Bennett is expected early next week
Confirmation of the reappointment of Bennett is expected early next week

Veteran Australian Wayne Bennett is set to continue as England head coach.

The 68-year-old's two-year contract with the Rugby Football League ran out after he guided England to the final of the 2017 World Cup but it's understood he has been persuaded to stay on in the job.

The RFL accepted a recommendation from rugby director Kevin Sinfield, the former Leeds and England captain who has conducted a review into the national team's performance at the World Cup, and confirmation of the reappointment of Bennett is expected early next week.

Bennett, who succeeded Steve McNamara two years ago on a part-time basis while continuing his day job with Brisbane Broncos, declined to discuss his future in the immediate aftermath of December's final.

However, the former Australia and Queensland coach won many admirers for the way he turned England into a competitive force after a dismal 2016 Four Nations, guiding them to a first World Cup final for 22 years, and to a man the players expressed their support for his continued involvement.

The reappointment will head off any possible move for Bennett's services from New Zealand, who earlier this week changed their eligibility rules to give them the opportunity to appoint an Australian as their head coach following a review into the Kiwis' disappointing World Cup.

Bennett assisted Stephen Kearney when New Zealand won the World Cup in 2008 and during the 2017 campaign he raised the possibility of returning to a role with them.

He will now go up against the Kiwis in the proposed mid-summer international in Denver and the end-of-season three-match Test series in the UK.

 Bennett's two-year contract with the Rugby Football League ran out after he guided England to the final of the 2017 World Cup

The Test match in Colorado, pencilled in for Saturday, June 23, is expected to be confirmed next week by Australian promoter Jason Moore, who wants to use the game to build up interest ahead of the 2025 World Cup which will be hosted by the United States.

Before then, England will host the 2021 World Cup and whether Bennett will still be at the helm by then is unclear.

He will be 71 when that tournament starts and the RFL may be inclined to ask Bennett to help choose his successor in the way that another Australian, Eddie Jones, has been asked to groom the next England rugby union head coach.

Sinfield and the RFL's interim chief executive Ralph Rimmer are big admirers of Castleford coach Daryl Powell, the 2017 Super League coach of the year, as well as Bennett, whose contract with the Broncos runs out at the end of 2019.

The RFL is also close to finalising the rest of the national coaching set-up, with the England Knights set to be reformed later this year to take part in a new Six Nations Championship.

PA

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in