Shaun Wane open to club return after World Cup but only as head coach

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England coach Shaun Wane will be open to making a return to club rugby after the World Cup but says it would have to be as a head coach.

The former Wigan boss is currently full-time with England in the build-up to the 2021 World Cup in the autumn but admits he misses the day-to-day involvement in the game.

Wane has a long-held ambition to coach in the NRL but says he would have to be in charge of a club and so rules out following the example of one of his predecessors, Steve McNamara, who went part-time after the 2013 World Cup to become assistant coach at Sydney Roosters and then New Zealand Warriors.

“I’m not a good assistant,” Wane said. “I tried it with Michael Maguire (at Wigan) and I was terrible.

“He might have thought I was okay. But I’m too opinionated, I need to be in charge.”

Wane, 56, was appointed as the successor to part-time Australian Wayne Bennett on a two-year contract 14 months ago and subsequently extended his deal to the end of 2022.

“I’m still contracted to the RFL,” he added. “Ralph (chief executive Ralph Rimmer) and the team have been really supportive to me and I want to deliver a really good World Cup.

Hull FC v Catalans Dragons – Super League – KCOM Stadium
Shaun Wane says he will not be following the example of Steve McNamara in reverting to part-time England coach after the World Cup (PA Images/Richard Sellers)

One Super League vacancy has been filled, with Daryl Powell set to take over from Steve Price at Warrington in 2022, but there is still an opening at Castleford.

“The only thing I’m thinking about is the World Cup,” Wane said. “That’s my only focus.”

Meanwhile, Wane will get a chance to meet up with his players face to face for the first time at Leeds Beckett University next Tuesday as he steps up preparations for the international against a Combined Nations All Stars on June 25.

“I need to get on the field,” he said. “I’ve lost a year of my time with the players so it’s catch-up.

Wigan Warriors v Wakefield Trinity – Betfred Super League – Totally Wicked Stadium
Wigan full-back Zak Hardaker has had a few run-ins with his old coach Shaun Wane (PA Images/Martin Rickett)

Wane says he is looking forward to renewing his acquaintance with Wigan full-back Zak Hardaker, who has had his share of off-field problems over the years and has already clashed with his old boss.

“Me and Zak have had a few awkward chats over this lockdown,” Wane revealed. “Just for him to understand what I’m about and what I will accept and what I won’t accept.

“He was good over the weekend and very competitive so I’m looking forward to it.

“The behaviour when the players represent England is very important to me – that’s everybody in the squad, not just Zak.

“I’m not the same as any other international coach, I’m quite strict on that and all the players understand where they are.”

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