With Wayne Bennett’s future as England coach up in the air, who could be likely to succeed him in the role if the 67-year-old fails to agree a new contract with the Rugby Football League? Here’s five leading contenders to be the next England coach..
Naturally, Bennett is included on this list as no concrete and definitive decision has been made over his future. The 67-year-old may feel like he wants to continue the undoubted progression he’s overseen during his two years in charge – but he will be 71 by the time the next World Cup arrives on these shores in 2021. Will he still have the appetite for the international game then?
If Bennett decided to move on, then the peoples’ choice would be Castleford coach Daryl Powell – without a shadow of a doubt. Widely regarded as the most talented British coach in the game, Powell has transformed the Tigers into a Super League force in recent years. However, will he feel like he has unfinished business with Castleford, given how they fell short in this year’s Super League Grand Final?
Another leading club coach, like Powell; it remains to be seen whether the RFL would allow any new coach to continue in their role at club level alongside their international commitments. But Leeds coach Brian McDermott’s track record speaks for itself – not least given how he’s the most successful coach in the Rhinos’ history. Would he find the temptation of coaching his country too much a lure to resist?
If Bennett left his post as England coach, the option of continuity from within the current programme is certainly there. Current assistant coach Denis Betts also has club commitments with Widnes, but he has the advantage of already being involved in a playing group which has taken a significant step forward over the last six or seven weeks.
The Wigan coach certainly has a fair record of success throughout his time coaching his hometown club – and it’s not hard to see why that would switch to the international arena neatly, too. Wane has brought further success to Wigan during his time in charge, but would he fancy the opportunity of coaching his country?