Leeds Rhinos coach: Could England and former Wigan Warriors boss Shaun Wane be the first choice?

Leeds Rhinos' month-long search for a new head coach is expected to end within the next few days.

By Peter Smith
Sunday, 17th April 2022, 6:23 pm
Updated Sunday, 17th April 2022, 6:24 pm

So far, chief executive Gary Hetherington has given only one clue as to who might be on his wish list, stating the role "requires a good deal of experience and seniority”.

Hetherington conducted interviews in Sydney and Brisbane last week and has said a decision will be made following talks with home-based candidates over the Easter weekend.

Based on the criteria outlined by Hetherington, Shaun Wane is better qualified than most.

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England coach Shaun Wane. Picture by Paul Currie/SWpix.com.

The 57-year-old was coach of Wigan Warriors from 2011-2018, steering his hometown club to three Super League Grand Final wins, as well as a Challenge Cup success and World Club Challenge.

After a spell in Scottish rugby union, he was appointed England coach ahead of the 2020 season and last year returned to Wigan in a "leadership role" on new team boss Matt Peet's backroom staff.

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While Rhinos have been strongly linked with assistant- or lower-grade coaches at NRL clubs, including Parramatta Eels' Ryan Carr and Cameron Ciraldo at Penrith Panthers, Wane has operated at a higher level and is a proven winner.

As England coach, he watches all Super League games and is up to date with the competition and players at all clubs, so would need little time to assess Rhinos' squad or their opposition.

And though he is primarily associated with Wigan, Wane moved from there to spend three seasons as a player at Leeds in the early 1990s.

Two other ex-Leeds players linked with the role are former London Broncos boss Danny Ward and Ellery Hanley, who coached Great Britain in 1994 and steered St Helens' to the Super League title five years later.