Shaun Wane is excited about the challenge of switching codes – but admits he will leave rugby league with one huge disappointment.
He will become Scotland Rugby Union’s new high performance coach when he leaves Wigan later this season.
And he admits the chance to work with a national set-up was a huge attracting, having been overlooked for the England coaching position.
“I’ve always wanted to be involved in the international game and rugby union has given me the opportunity to do that,” he said.
Asked whether it was frustrating he never got that chance in league, he replied: “Yeah, absolutely, a huge frustration.
“I also get there are other really good coaches, but I thought I’d have had a chance somewhere. It’s disappointing.”
Wane is unsure whether the move will end his association with league.
“I’m honestly not sure,” he said. “One day I could return, I’m not sure.
“But you never know what’s going to happen – a year ago I never thought I’d go to union, so I’m open-minded.”
His appointment will not come as a surprise to many – he had been linked with a role north of the border since announcing last month that he would be stepping down as Warriors coach at the end of this season.
He was on a rolling contract. “I’m excited, I love rugby league but this is a new venture for me,” he said. “I’ve been really impressed with their professionalism, I have an affinity with that country because I go up there quite a bit.”
Wane stressed his focus is on finishing the season well with Wigan, and adding more silverware to a haul which has two Grand Finals, a Challenge Cup, World Club Challenge and League Leaders’ Shield success.
“To be honest I’m not comfortable talking about this, and hopefully now it’s been cleared up it won’t be mentioned again,” he added. “My full focus is on Wigan.”
Wane’s brief will see him work closely with current Scottish elite coaches, at all levels of the game, on a consultancy basis.
His areas of focus will prioritise defensive technique and understanding, handling and agility skills for front five forwards, and mentoring support for existing national and age-grade coaches across all Scottish Rugby programmes.
Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend said: “There is a lot we can learn from Shaun in both the technical side of the game as well as wider aspects of coaching.
“The range of skills now needed across the pitch in rugby union, aligned with the style of play we are developing means all our players have to be able to pass accurately and deploy effective lines of running that will either hold defenders or find space.
“What Shaun brings from rugby league is immediately transferrable and will add real value.”