Shaun Wane has been appointed Head Coach of the England men’s Rugby League team on a two-year contract – including this year’s home Ashes series and culminating in the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
Wane will return to Rugby League after spending the last year working as High Performance Coach for Scottish Rugby.
The 55-year-old was Head Coach of Wigan, his hometown club for whom he made 149 appearances as a player, from 2011-18 – a period in which the Warriors won three Super League titles, reached five Grand Finals at Old Trafford, won the Challenge Cup at Wembley in 2013, and were crowned World Club Champions in 2017.
The decision to appoint Wane, and end Wayne Bennett’s four years as Head Coach of England and Great Britain, followed a review into all aspects of last autumn’s Great Britain tour – which had always been planned midway through the four-year World Cup cycle.
The RFL Board believe that a full-time, UK-based Head Coach is the best outcome of that review for the two years leading to the World Cup, in which England’s major matches will all be played at home.
Shaun Wane said: “I am honoured to be appointed Head Coach of my country’s national team at such an exciting and important time for Rugby League in England.
“We have a three-Test Ashes series against Australia this autumn, and after that we host the World Cup in 2021.
“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. ”
Ralph Rimmer, the Chief Executive of the Rugby Football League, 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 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 homegrown players.
“With two years to go in the lead up to RLWC2021, a full review was always programmed in to follow from the 2019 Great Britain tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
“After careful consideration of the review report, the RFL Board concluded that a change of direction on the position of Head Coach was the next evolution alongside adopting several of the recommendations made.
“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.
“Wayne is a very special coach and has taken us on a great journey. Once you see him operate up close then it becomes clear why he has been so successful, and each of our players who have experienced that will have benefited hugely – as have I.”