McNamara leaves role as England coach

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Steve McNamara has left his role as head coach of England, the Rugby Football League (RFL) announced on Tuesday.

“The RFL has concluded that with the 2016 Four Nations and 2017 World Cup on the horizon, now is the time to make any change to the England set-up,” RFL chief executive Nigel Wood said in a statement.

McNamara, 44, had been in the role since 2010. His contract expired following November’s Test series against New Zealand, which England won 2-1, and he has been told he will not be offered a new deal.

Veteran Australian Wayne Bennett, current head coach of the Brisbane Broncos, is expected to be appointed as McNamara’s successor.

“Steve McNamara has been the longest serving national coach in our history and it is undoubtedly the case that the national team and set-up have moved on considerably under Steve’s leadership,” Wood added.

“We would like to place on record our thanks to Steve McNamara for his considerable efforts over the years to both the England senior team and the underlying programme.

“He leaves with our very best wishes and on a high, after a series win over New Zealand.”

England’s series victory over New Zealand, the world’s top-ranked team, was their first series success for eight years.

McNamara, formerly in charge at Bradford, succeeded Tony Smith in 2010, having worked as his assistant for the previous three years.

Initially full-time, McNamara switched to a part-time role after the 2013 World Cup, where England narrowly lost to New Zealand in the semi-finals.

He subsequently took up a full-time post as assistant coach at the Sydney Roosters, with whom he recently signed a new two-year contract.

Bennett, 66, is widely regarded as the sport’s leading coach, having guided Brisbane and St George Illawarra to seven Grand Final triumphs in Australia.

He has twice coached Australia and was right-hand man to Stephen Kearney, his current Broncos assistant, when New Zealand won the World Cup in 2008.

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