Shaun Wane would listen to club offers next year

England coach Shaun Wane will be open to making a return to club rugby after the World Cup but says it would have to be as a head coach.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 9:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 9:12 am
Shaun Wane
Shaun Wane

The former Wigan boss is currently full-time with England in the build-up to the 2021 World Cup in the autumn but admits he misses the day-to-day involvement in the game.

Wane has a long-held ambition to coach in the NRL but says he would have to be in charge of a club and so rules out following the example of one of his predecessors, Steve McNamara, who went part-time after the 2013 World Cup to become assistant coach at Sydney Roosters and then New Zealand Warriors.

"I'm not a good assistant," Wane said. "I tried it with Michael Maguire (at Wigan) and I was terrible.

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"He might have thought I was okay. But I'm too opinionated, I need to be in charge."

Wane, 56, was appointed as the successor to part-time Australian Wayne Bennett on a two-year contract 14 months ago and subsequently extended his deal to the end of 2022.

"I'm still contracted to the RFL," he added. "Ralph (chief executive Ralph Rimmer) and the team have been really supportive to me and I want to deliver a really good World Cup.

"If something happens in club land here or overseas, I'd definitely listen to it. It could be part-time but everything I do is full-time."

One Super League vacancy has been filled, with Daryl Powell set to take over from Steve Price at Warrington in 2022, but there is still an opening at Castleford.

"The only thing I'm thinking about is the World Cup," Wane said. "That's my only focus."

Meanwhile, Wane will get a chance to meet up with his players face to face for the first time at Leeds Beckett University next Tuesday as he steps up preparations for the international against a Combined Nations All Stars on June 25.

"I need to get on the field," he said. "I've lost a year of my time with the players so it's catch-up.

"It's okay over zoom but nothing is as good as being out on the field and physically seeing the players do it."

Wane says he is looking forward to renewing his acquaintance with Wigan full-back Zak Hardaker, who has had his share of off-field problems over the years and has already clashed with his old boss.

"Me and Zak have had a few awkward chats over this lockdown," Wane revealed. "Just for him to understand what I'm about and what I will accept and what I won't accept.

"He was good over the weekend and very competitive so I'm looking forward to it.

"The behaviour when the players represent England is very important to me - that's everybody in the squad, not just Zak.

"I'm not the same as any other international coach, I'm quite strict on that and all the players understand where they are."

Catalans Dragons star Sam Tomkins is in pole position to claim the full-back spot for England's World Cup campaign.

The 32-year-old former Wigan favourite is facing stiff competition for the number one shirt, with Hardaker, Niall Evalds, Stefan Ratchford and Jake Connor all making impressive starts to the Betfred Super League season.

Tomkins, who was full-back for England in their 2013 World Cup semi-final defeat by New Zealand, has begun in sparkling form for Catalans and, if the opening game was this weekend, Wane says he would get the nod ahead of his rivals.

"I'd say probably Sam," Wane told a press conference from St James' Park, Newcastle, which will host the opening game in 200 days' time.

"He was good last year and he was good at the weekend. Jake Connor has been good, so has Zak but, if you look at the data - fans don't get access to what I see - I think Sam has been really, really good."