Wayne Bennett to stay on as England coach
WAYNE Bennett's continuation as England coach for a further two years is expected to be confirmed in the next 24 hours but doubts remain as to who will be in charge come the 2021 World Cup.
Reports from England last week suggested that Bennett would be joined in the England set-up by Castleford coach Daryl Powell as a way of providing a smooth transition into the next World Cup cycle but there are mixed reports from the UK about Powell's willingness to assume a place on Bennett's support staff for the next two years.
The Pontefract and Castleford Express said two days ago that Powell was very much in the running to be offered a place in the RFL set-up but The Guardian has reported that Powell has in fact declined the opportunity, for the meantime.
Since taking over as England coach in 2016 Bennett's record is seven wins from 11 games with victories over Lebanon, France, Papua New Guinea and Tonga securing a place in the World Cup final last December against the Kangaroos.
Although they went down 6-0 there was widespread praise for the courage that the England team displayed in a pulsating final and now Bennett will now get the chance to oversee further development over the next two years.
The next assignment is likely to be a historic clash between England and New Zealand in Denver in the US in June, a promotion that is being staged by Moore Sports, the people behind the United States successful bid to host the 2025 World Cup.
In addition to guaranteeing his New Zealand-eligible Broncos players would be released in order to play in the Test match, Bennett told NRL.com earlier this month that it would be "hypocritical" for all of rugby league to not support the concept.
"If this game wasn't to go ahead it would be hypocritical. And it would be a case of bias against the English given the other countries can now get players released," Bennett said.
"Clubs have to release players for State of Origin, we have to release them to play for Tonga, Samoa and whatever else.
"So what's the difference with Australia, England and New Zealand?
"Those guys have been playing the Australia-New Zealand Test in the middle of the season anyway for the past decade; what's the difference?"
Once his commitments with the Broncos finish at the end of the season Bennett will then turn his attention to England's three-match series against the Kiwis in England, the first Test to be played at Hull's KCOM Stadium on October 27.