Former Wigan boss Shaun Wane has been appointed as England’s new head coach on a full-time basis.
The 55-year-old takes over from Australian Wayne Bennett on a two-year contract which will take in this year’s home Ashes Series and the 2021 World Cup.
Wane left Wigan after guiding his hometown team to a third Grand Final at the end of the 2018 season and has spent the last year working as high performance coach for the Scottish Rugby Union.
“Everyone who knows me knows that I’ve always loved the game of rugby league and been proud of British rugby league.
“I’m looking forward so much to starting work with the outstanding rugby league players we have in this country and also the guys who have enjoyed success in Australia in recent years, to do all we can to win the World Cup next year.”
The appointment brings to an end the four-year reign of Bennett, who steered England to the 2017 World Cup final but lost much credibility while in charge of the re-formed Great Britain team that lost all four matches on their recent tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer, who recently admitted that ticket sales for the Ashes Series would be a consideration when it came to appointing the next coach, says it is time for a change of direction with a full-time UK-based man in charge.
Rimmer, who with Sinfield carried out a review into the Lions tour, said: “We think this is an exciting appointment that will be welcomed by England rugby league supporters as we prepare for this year’s Ashes series and the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
“Shaun is passionate about the game and his country and is also an outstanding coach, as shown by his record in eight seasons as Wigan’s head coach, a major feature of which was the success he and the club had in developing so many home-grown players.
“We are confident that one of the benefits of Shaun’s appointment will be to further build support for and belief in the national team from the rugby league community and know that he will work closely with the clubs within this process.
“I’d like to place on record on behalf of the RFL and England and Great Britain Rugby League our thanks to Wayne Bennett for his immense contribution as our head coach over the last four years, when England reached the 2017 World Cup final and had an excellent home series win against New Zealand in 2018.”