Wayne Bennett has been chosen to lead England during this autumn’s inaugural World Cup Nines event in Sydney.
The Great Britain and South Sydney Rabbitohs Head Coach will take charge of the side in the 12-team men’s tournament at the new Bankwest Stadium, taking place on the weekend of October 18-19.
Bennett will then take charge of the Great Britain squad for the first appearance of the Rugby League Lions in the southern hemisphere since 2006, with a four-match tour including two Tests against New Zealand and one each against Tonga and Papua New Guinea.
In addition, Craig Richards has been selected to spearhead the England Women’s team as they take part in a four-team tournament, played at the same venue on the same weekend.
On the announcement, RFL rugby director Kevin Sinfield said: “We’re excited by the prospect of the Downer World Cup Nines in Sydney, and both our men’s and women’s teams are determined to put up a good showing in what promises to be a great occasion for the international game.
“As the head coaches of our men’s and women’s teams, it’s fitting that Wayne and Craig take charge of the England teams in the Nines – and a measure of how seriously we’re taking the tournaments.
“For England Women in particular, it’s an important part of the preparations for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup – and we’re working hard behind the scenes on securing more international competition in the southern hemisphere for the team this autumn.”