Wayne Bennett replaces Steve McNamara as England head coach

Wayne Bennett points
Wayne Bennett has coached Australia, Queensland and several NRL clubs

Australian Wayne Bennett has replaced Steve McNamara as England head coach on a two-year contract.

Bennett, 66, is the most successful coach in Australian rugby league history, with seven Grand Final wins.

The Brisbane Broncos boss was appointed hours after the Rugby Football League (RFL) said McNamara, 44, had left after five and a half years in the role.

"Wayne is quite rightly regarded as the outstanding coach of this generation," RFL chief executive Nigel Wood said.

Bennett, who will continue as Broncos boss, will lead England through the 2016 Four Nations and 2017 World Cup.

Runners-up in the Four Nations in 2011, England also reached the semi-finals of the Rugby League World Cup in 2013 under McNamara.

McNamara's contract expired following England's 2-1 series win over New Zealand at the end of last year.

"From what I have seen I have been impressed by the ambition and energy demonstrated by the team," Bennett said.

"I look forward to working with a group of players that I believe have what it takes to succeed on the international stage."

England improved 'considerably' under McNamara

Former Bradford Bulls coach McNamara was appointed by England in 2010 and combined the role with his job at Sydney Roosters, where he remains assistant coach.

An RFL statement read: "Steve McNamara has been the longest-serving national coach in our history and it is undoubtedly the case that the national team and set-up have moved on considerably under Steve's leadership.

"We would like to place on record our thanks to Steve for his considerable efforts over the years to both the England senior team and the underlying programme. He leaves with our very best wishes and on a high, after a series win over New Zealand."

Steve McNamara
McNamara won 16 of his 27 matches in charge of England, managing only three victories from 12 games against Australia and New Zealand

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