International Series 2015: Steve McNamara coy on England future

By Paul FletcherBBC Sport at the DW Stadium
Highlights: England beat NZ in thrilling decider

England coach Steve McNamara refused to discuss his future after his team defeated New Zealand in the crucial series decider in Wigan.

His team defeated the Kiwis 20-14 to clinch the series 2-1 in the last game before his current deal expired.

"We will sit down, assess it and look at it," said McNamara, who has been in charge since 2010.

"These are the sort of things you deal with post-tournament, there is a process and I'm in no rush."

England revel in New Zealand series win

The former Bradford Bulls boss, 44, is also out of contract with club side Sydney Roosters, where he is attack coach.

It has been reportedexternal-link that McNamara has agreed a new two-year deal with the Australian National Rugby League side.

McNamara initially coached England on a full-time basis but has combined the position with his job at the Roosters since 2013.

He went into Saturday's match with a record of only two wins in 11 matches against the world's top two sides - New Zealand and Australia.

Former Great Britain international Garry Schofield - now an outspoken columnist - claimed before the game that there was "no debate about it, he has to go".external-link

But the series win strengthens McNamara's prospects of a deal that will take him through to the 2017 World Cup.

McNamara delights in "incredible feeling"

England coach Steve McNamara
McNamara was unwilling to discuss his future but is adamant his England team are progressing

The last significant series win against either the Kiwis or Australia was Great Britain's 3-0 triumph over New Zealand in 2007.

Since then there have been numerous near misses, including a 20-18 World Cup semi-final defeat against the Kiwis at Wembley in 2013 and two narrow Four Nations defeats in 2014.

England took the lead in the current series with victory in Hull but they were defeated 9-2 at the Olympic Stadium to set up Saturday's thrilling conclusion.

"It's an incredible feeling," added McNamara. "The players completely deserve it after working tirelessly.

"Success hasn't until this point come for the team, but thankfully they've finally got what they deserve.

"New Zealand are the number one team in the world and have dominated international rugby league in a physical sense. We've been able to match that in three consecutive games.

"We've got quality and experience to add to our group.

"We've got a good, young bunch that is ready to play for a number of years so the signs are pretty strong for us moving forward, particularly now we've got across the line."

The England team that competes in the 2016 Four Nations could be significantly stronger - with Sam Burgess, George Burgess, Sam Tomkins and Jack Reed all missing from the current series.

Pressure released, says Graham

Canterbury Bulldogs prop James Graham was in the GB team that defeated the Kiwis in 2007 but many in the current England side had never experienced a major series win.

"The pressure has been released," said the former St Helens player.

"The win will help breathe confidence into the less experienced lads but we cannot get carried away. The big thing for the England team is to kick on and win a major tournament."

James Graham in action against New Zealand
Veteran prop Graham wants England to go on and win a major competition

And the 30-year-old was one of numerous players to back McNamara to continue in his role as England coach.

"It is a no-brainer," he said when asked whether the coach should stay on. "If he wants the job, then I see no reason why not. There is no need to change it."

McNamara made two changes to his side for the final Test, bringing in winger Jermaine McGillvary and Wigan scrum-half Matty Smith, who won the man-of-the-match award.

"I think Steve has been building something good," added Smith. "I do not see any reason why we need to change the coach now.

"We have been building nicely and now we have won something."

NRL experience helping England

New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney was gracious in defeat - praising the quality of England over the three games.

But he also acknowledged how the number of Englishmen playing for Australian clubs in the NRL had helped the national team.

Gareth Widdop, Graham, Josh Hodgson, Thomas Burgess and Mike Cooper all played in the NRL last season - and Kearney said: "It is certainly of benefit.

"For 26 rounds in the NRL it is survival of the fittest, high-intensity football. That is helping to condition the Burgess lads and Widdop, those types of players, for sure."

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