Shaun Wane welcome’s new additions to his England backroom staff

England coach Shaun Wane has added former St Helens and Great Britain winger Ade Gardner to his backroom team ahead of an anticipated mid-season clash with the Exiles.

Gardner, 37, who scored 173 tries in 289 appearances for St Helens from 2002-14 and played 10 times for his country, joined Saints’ backroom staff on his retirement as physiotherapist and is currently head of performance at Warrington.

At a virtual press conference on Thursday, Wane also confirmed the addition of Warrington’s strength and conditioning coach Chris Baron and Mark Bitcon, who was Wigan’s director of performance during his time with the Warriors.

Wane, who welcomed the move of his assistant coach Andy Last to a full-time role with Wakefield, expects to take charge of England for the first time in a game against the Exiles on the weekend of June 26-27 ahead of the World Cup this autumn.

Although organisers are hopeful of getting crowds back to rugby league before the start of the tournament, they have a contingency plan to push the World Cup back to 2022.

“If it gets put back to next year I’ll need a job coaching because I need to get back on a field coaching with players and working out ways to win games,” Wane said.

“I’m missing it so much, even now. Frustrating isn’t the word, it’s something deeper than that. I live and breathe coaching rugby league players.

“I need to be on the field coaching players. Making the best of it is what I do, that’s over Zoom at the minute but I can’t wait to get back and coach players again.

“I’m driven for having 40,000 or 50,000 for England v Samoa and having crowds there. I don’t dwell on negative things. Until March, when there’s a meeting, I will think the World Cup is on and crowds are here.”

Meanwhile, Wane is hoping the the RFL’s laws committee stick with the “six again” rule at their meeting next Wednesday and would not mind if scrums remain banned in 2021.

“The speed of the game having no scrums has been fantastic,” he said. “I enjoyed it and I loved the six again rule.

“You look at the Wigan-Saints Grand Final and there’s not a sport in the world where you can have 26 players going at it for 25 minutes like that with no penalties and no errors.”

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