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FRESH candidates have emerged for the vacant England coaching role, Rugby Football League chief executive Ralph Rimmer revealed yesterday.
Veteran Australian Wayne Bennett’s contract ran out at the end of 2019 and, although he is said to be keen to continue in the role he began in 2016, he appears to be facing competition.
A decision will be made early in February when the RFL board receives a review of the ill-fated Great Britain Lions tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
Former Wigan boss Shaun Wane, currently working part-time with the Scottish Rugby Union, is known to be keen on the England job, but Rimmer declined to confirm any names when he addressed the media at the RFL’s season launch in Huddersfield.
“There’s been a few [candidates], a mix,” Rimmer said. “Any time the coaching posts come up at any of the four major nations, you would expect there to be a strong field of candidates that want to to take the role.
“So plenty of candidates have emerged.”
Rimmer has been conducting the review alongside RFL rugby director Kevin Sinfield, who has maintained regular contact with Bennett.
“Kevin has been a huge part of the review,” Rimmer said. “He is integral to the report that will finally be submitted.
“We’re right on timetable, as we were. The board meeting is on February 6. The review will be completed and it will hit the table and some decisions will be made.
“We won’t be keeping people waiting.”
Bennett turned 70 on New Year’s Day, but age is not a concern according to Rimmer, who says the appointment will take in the 2021 World Cup as well as this year’s Ashes series.
“It’s all about performance,” he added. “As a part of this review, we’ve spoken to lots of externals, people who would have some value.
“We’ve spoken to everybody in the camp, asked them to do a survey so we get some feedback anonymously. By the time we get to the right place, it will be comprehensive.”
Rimmer also said ticket sales for the Ashes series will be a consideration when it comes to appointing the head coach. Wane would be seen as a popular choice among fans.
“There will probably be some consideration made,” he said. “But the primary concern is to win the World Cup in 2021 and it would be naive not to think that would have to be taken into consideration.
“The driving force at the moment is that the recommendation is this is the right person to win the World Cup in 2021.”
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