Wood defends Bennett

RFL chief executive Nigel Wood has defended the decision to appoint Wayne Bennett as the new head coach of England.

“Steve’s contract expired at the end of December 2015 so it was a natural time to pause and reflect on what to do going forward,” Wood said.

“We concluded that England‘s chances of success would be enhanced if we asked Wayne to take the role.

“Wayne is the pre-eminent coach of the modern, possibly any era. He has a proven track record at club and representative level and is a sincere internationalist.

“The current group of players is an exciting proposition and they deserve the best in class coaching support to maximise the opportunity to succeed on behalf of the country.”

Wood said Bennett’s nationality is a non-issue for him.

“It’s actually about competence, ability and desire to succeed and I have no question marks on any front,” he said.

“We do, however, recognise that the coaching support group should ideally be populated by coaches from the Super League and this is what we will be seeking to achieve with the future appointments. Ultimately it is of course Wayne’s call as you would expect.

“The coming years will undoubtedly be an exciting and important time for international rugby league with the Four Nations this year and the World Cup only 20 months or so away.

“We have got a great group of players and now the undisputed best coach. I am sure that is a combination everyone can get behind.”

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