Rugby League: ‘Joined-up thinking’ is key says Sinfield as England plan for life after head coach Bennett

RFL director of rugby, Kevin Sinfield. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
RFL director of rugby, Kevin Sinfield. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
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Wayne Bennett will get the chance to lead England into the 2021 World Cup if he delivers success in the next two years, according to the Rugby Football League’s director of rugby Kevin Sinfield.

Sinfield, who made the recommendation to reappoint the 68-year-old Australian after he took England to the final of the 2017 World Cup, says Bennett is happy to extend his stay by two years rather than the four hinted at by RFL interim boss Ralph Rimmer.

England head coach, Wayne Bennett. PIC: Daniel Carson/SWpix.com/PhotosportNZ

England head coach, Wayne Bennett. PIC: Daniel Carson/SWpix.com/PhotosportNZ

“It’s the best person for the job and currently Wayne is that,” Sinfield told the BBC 5 Live rugby league podcast.

“Hence the reason he wasn’t given a four-year deal, he was given a two-year deal.

“It’s up to him. If we win every Test with England and Great Britain up until the end of 2019, he’s in pole position to carry on if he wants to.

“But if we don’t, at the end of that two-year period, again we’ll have a thorough review and make the right call so the best person gets the job to lead us into the World Cup.

Potential future England head coach, Castleford Tigers' Daryl Powell. PIC: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Potential future England head coach, Castleford Tigers' Daryl Powell. PIC: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

“The two years suits Wayne and it suits us. There has been some thinking behind this. We have got a four-year plan.”

Bennett, whose full-time contract with Brisbane Broncos expires at the end of 2019, will be 71 when the next World Cup comes around. Sinfield added: “Wayne is hungry and he really wants to succeed for England.

“He cares so much about the players and ultimately his decision was made not by how much we wanted him but by the players wanting him to continue.”

The RFL has also appointed one of Bennett’s assistants, former Huddersfield boss Paul Anderson, as coach of the reformed England Knights, also on a two-year deal, but made no mention about the position of other backroom staff members Denis Betts, Paul Sculthorpe and Paul Wellens.

“I think the backroom staff will change slightly,” Sinfield said. “I think Wayne would like to freshen that up. He’s going to continue to deliberate but I can’t see too many changes because we’re keen on continuity.”

Castleford boss Daryl Powell, the 2017 Super League coach of the year, has been tipped to land a major role in the reshuffle and is thought to be ahead of Brian McDermott (Leeds), Shaun Wane (Wigan), Lee Radford (Hull), Chris Chester (Wakefield) and Ian Watson (Salford) in the pecking order.

“There are some fantastic English coaches out there,” Sinfield said. “We’re in a fantastic position and you could argue a case for any of them to step up and take that England job. We just think Wayne is the right guy at this moment in time.

“I saw the Daryl Powell speculation and I’m a huge admirer of Daryl. I’d like to think in the future he will become an England coach; I’d love to see him involved in the set-up down the track.”

Sinfield also said he would like to see players from Wales, Ireland and Scotland included in Bennett’s squad for the revived 2019 Lions tour Down Under and is hopeful that an international against New Zealand in Denver, Colorado, on June 23 will get the go-ahead.

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