Shaun Wane contract extension to fend off NRL interest

Shaun WaneShaun Wane
Shaun Wane
Shaun Wane has been handed a contract extension as England coach - without taking charge of a single game.

Bosses at Rugby Football League have been so impressed with his work behind-the-scenes they have extended his deal until the end of 2022.

Chief executive Ralph Rimmer hopes the contract extension will fend off any attention from NRL clubs.

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Wane has previously been linked with St George Illawarra Dragons, whose coach Paul McGregor will step down this weekend.

Rimmer said: “We are well aware that Shaun has recently attracted the attention of several NRL clubs and wanted to ensure that he had enough security that kept him absolutely focussed on the job in hand."

Former Wigan coach Wane was due to take charge of England in this autumn's Ashes series before it was scrapped due to the coronavirus crisis.

He will lead the national side into next year's World Cup. There are hopes Australia may tour these shores in 2022.

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"Shaun has made a great impression within the RFL and across the sport in general, and I am delighted that he will be staying on beyond the 2021 World Cup," said Rimmer.

"He has proved himself to be both energetic and versatile in difficult times and has adapted to what is in front of him.

“Like all of us Shaun is bitterly disappointed not to be facing the Kangaroos this autumn, but he is not letting this short-term setback stand in the way of his long-term aim to make England the number one side in the world.

“Shaun’s passion for England Rugby League is matched by meticulous planning and preparation, and come autumn 2021 there will not be a better-prepared international side at the World Cup.”

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Wane, 55, was head coach of his hometown club for seven years from 2012 to '18, during which time Wigan Warriors won three of the five Super League Grand Finals they reached, lifted the Challenge Cup at Wembley in 2013 and were crowned World Club Champions in 2017.

“It’s an honour to be England head coach so I didn’t have to think too hard about extending my contract," he said.

“Like everybody else I’ve missed the live action but I’ve it’s given me extra time to talk with players, build relationships, share ideas and let them know what they need to do to make the England team.

“Now Super League is back up and running I’m excited to see the players back on the field, doing what they do best and developing the winning mentality needed for World Cup success.”