Shaun Wane: Former Wigan boss appointed England head coach

Shaun Wane left Wigan following their 2018 Super League Grand Final triumph
Shaun Wane left Wigan following their 2018 Super League Grand Final triumph

Shaun Wane has been named England rugby league head coach on a two-year deal.

Wane, 55, replaces Australian Wayne Bennett, 70, who leaves after four years in charge.

"I'm honoured to be appointed head coach of England at such an exciting and important time," Wane said.

The Rugby Football League has also confirmed that Leeds Rhinos director of rugby Kevin Sinfield has left his role as head of the England performance unit.

Former Wigan Warriors boss Wane had been working part-time as a high performance coach with Scottish Rugby.

He added: "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 former prop guided Wigan to three Super League titles in his seven years in charge of his hometown club.

Wane, who played for Wigan and Leeds, won two caps for Great Britain in 1985-86 but has been out of rugby league since leaving the DW Stadium in 2018.

He will take charge for the home series against Australia in November, before the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England.

Bennett, who guided England to the World Cup final in 2017, was keen to stay on for the next tournament, but his leadership of the Great Britain side for the autumn tour of New Zealand and Papua Guinea did not go well.

That tour ended in a 4-0 autumn series defeat - and Bennett's RFL contract ran out at the end of that tour.

Wane may have just four matches to prepare England for the next World Cup - a proposed mid-season international in June prior to the three-match Ashes series.

South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett turned 70 on New Year's Day
South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett turned 70 on New Year's Day

'Doubts over Bennett emerged on Great Britain tour'

Analysis: Dave Woods, BBC Sport's rugby league correspondent

When Wayne Bennett was initially appointed as England coach, the assumption was that he would take the job through to the 2021 World Cup.

All looked to be going to plan when he took the national team to the final of the 2017 World Cup in Australia, losing to a solitary try from the Kangaroos.

In 2018, England beat New Zealand 2-1 in a Test series here.

But doubts about Bennett's style, and the direction the team might be taken, began to surface in last year's tour by Great Britain to New Zealand and Papua New Guinea when the rugby league Lions lost all four games.

His two-year contract finished at the end of that tour, and the RFL have chosen not to renew it.

Shaun Wane's appointment will be popular among those who want to see an Englishman lead the national side on home soil in 2021. But he'll have to hit the ground running.

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