Ian Lenagan says Super League chairmen want homegrown England coach – not Wayne Bennett

Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan has called on the RFL to appoint a homegrown England coach and end Wayne Bennett’s tenure as national boss.

Australian veteran Bennett is out of contract having coached England since 2016 and taken charge of last year’s disastrous Great Britain tour.

RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer and rugby director Kevin Sinfield are currently compiling a report of the Lions trip, which saw Bennett’s side lose all four matches against Tonga, New Zealand twice and Papua New Guinea.

The RFL board will then decide who takes charge of England for this year’s three-test series with Australia and the 2021 World Cup – and Lenagan insists it should either former Wigan boss Shaun Wane or Castleford’s Daryl Powell instead of Bennett.

Wane has been mooted by Lenagan
(Image: PA Archive/PA Images)

Lenagan said: “The least said about the international series the better.

“It’s interesting to see our old friend Shaun being mooted a few times in terms of whether or not he should become the England coach.

“There’s no doubt from the vast majority of chairmen I talk to, we would like to see an English guy who can motivate, and understand Super League better. 

“I think Wayne Bennett’s an enormously capable coach and he’s been superb all his life.

Bennett oversaw Great Britain’s disastrous return in the autumn
(Image: Getty Images)

“But I would much prefer to have a Shaun Wane or a Powell or whoever – somebody of calibre and talent who can make England play well because he knows them – and doesn’t make the kind of selection strange decisions, as we think of them.”

Lenagan queried Bennett’s consistent over-looking of Wigan back rower Liam Farrell and wants the RFL to consult Super League chairmen over the appointment.

Lenagan added: “I would have hoped they might. Previous experience has not involved that, but Simon Johnson as the new chairman is quite impressive. 

“He know what he’s talking about and he’s not parochial at all. I think that there will be more consultation.

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“There is already starting to be on things like broadcasting which is nice to see because logically, whether you’re talking about the Challenge Cup, internationals or Super League, you should be doing it together.

“For rugby league to have a joined up concept, whether it’s broadcasting, competitions or the appointment of coaches, it would be nice to be involved, and that’s beginning to happen more and more.

“The England appointment is important all of the time, and if we get consulted that will be a nice position. 

“I think we’ve got a very, very good chance of winning the World Cup in 2021 – we nearly got there with Australia in ’17. You look at the quality of people coming into Super League and that will make our England team even stronger.”

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