Rugby League

Rugby Football League take time over possible re-appointment of Steve McNamara

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The Rugby Football League will take its time over the possible re-appointment of Steve McNamara as England coach, with a decision not expected until the New Year at the earliest.

The 44-year-old former Bradford boss' tenure came to an end after Saturday's series-clinching 20-14 win over New Zealand at Wigan after which he declined to comment on his future.

McNamara, who has been in charge of England since 2010, has maintained all along that he would sit down with the RFL at the end of the series to discuss his future and on Saturday re-iterated that he was in "no rush" to finalise matters.

He will return to Australia on Thursday for the start of pre-season training at Sydney Roosters, where he works full-time as an assistant coach, and is expected to fly back early in the New Year for further talks with RFL chief executive Nigel Wood.

"The situation remains the same as it was before the test series against New Zealand," said Wood.

"We will sit down with Steve at an appropriate time in the coming months to discuss the progress of the England programme and the national team and to talk about the future.

"It is the appropriate and responsible way to proceed and both parties are entirely comfortable with this arrangement."

McNamara has been on the national coaching staff for the last nine years, initially as assistant to Tony Smith with Great Britain, and took over when Smith stepped down at the end of the 2009 Four Nations final.

Appointed by the RFL as head coach the following April, Bradford agreed to release McNamara from his contract three months later to enable him to go full-time with England in the build-up to the 2013 World Cup.

The former Hull, Bradford, Wakefield and Huddersfield forward was handed a new two-year contract at the end of the last World Cup two years ago when the role reverted to part-time and he joined the Roosters on a two-year deal.

McNamara signed a new two-year contract with the Sydney club this summer which means, if he is re-appointed, the England job would remain part-time in the run-up to the 2017 World Cup Down Under.

It was widely accepted that McNamara's future would largely hinge on the outcome of the three-match Test series with the world number one ranked Kiwis, which went down to the wire, and he is now likely to stay in the job.

Under McNamara, England have won 14 of their 23 full internationals, but only three against New Zealand and none against Australia.

Waiting in the wings - if there is to be a change of coach - are Shaun Wane (Wigan), Daryl Powell (Castleford) and Brian McDermott (Leeds), who was recently appointed as part-time head coach of the United States ahead of their qualifiers for the 2017 World Cup.

England no longer have a mid-season game so their next full international will be in the 2016 Four Nations Series for which the RFL are currently finalising dates and venues.

London's Olympic Stadium is thought to be among the potential venues for the tournament featuring England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand after a crowd of 44,393 watch the second Test there earlier this month.

Wood said: "The prospects for rugby league in London have never been better. Our research suggests there are about 10 million people in the UK with an interest in rugby league and around a fifth of them reside in London and the South East.

"The potential is vast and we have to deliver a programme of events to keep those people interested and engaged.

"F ollowing on from the game at the Olympic Stadium, I am confident it will lead to other rugby league events there over the course of 2016 and beyond."

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