Shaun Wane's England role should not be full-time, says Hull KR's Tony Smith

Former England boss Tony Smith does not believe current national head coach Shaun Wane should be full-time in the role.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 4:32 pm
England coach Shaun Wane

Wane was appointed on a full-time basis in February 2020 but last year's scheduled Ashes Series fell victim to the coronavirus pandemic and the former Wigan coach has yet to hold any face-to-face meetings with his players.

"I think it's tough in the current circumstances, without being able to get teams together," Smith said.

"My circumstances were a whole lot different. We didn't have any players in Australia, now about half the team are situated in Australia which makes it even tougher.

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Hull KR and former England coach Tony Smith

"The other thing I sympathise with Waney at the moment is having it as a full-time job and not coaching as well.

"I don't think it suits rugby league to have a full-time head coach of England. I think they need to be coaching somewhere in order to keep their craft and skills high."

Wane's predecessor was Australian Wayne Bennett, who combined the role with that of coach of Brisbane Broncos and, latterly South Sydney, while Steve McNamara, the current Catalans Dragons boss who succeeded Smith as England coach in 2010, was initially full-time but reverted to part-time after the 2013 World Cup.

Smith, who is now head coach of Hull KR, combined his job as national coach with that of performance director in the Rugby Football League's technical department.

Smith and McNamara each took England to the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2008 and 2013 respectively, while Bennett guided them to the final in 2017 and Smith is optimistic about the prospects for the 2021 tournament.

"It's also an exciting time," he said. "I think we've got some terrific players and some fantastic prospects coming through that should give us some encouragement and some chance."