Roosters-bound McNamara is to stay on part-time with England

Steve McNamara
Steve McNamara
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The Rugby Football League have thrashed out a deal to keep Australia-bound Steve McNamara as England head coach.

McNamara’s international future had been in doubt after England lost a dramatic World Cup semi-final to New Zealand last month.

But RFL chiefs have agreed the former Bradford Bulls boss can remain in charge of the national side on a part-time basis allowing him to take up a full-time role at NRL side Sydney Roosters.

The 42-year-old will now jet Down Under in the New Year to take up the Roosters assistant coaching job, alongside former Catalan Dragons coach Trent Robinson.

With no England game for another 10 months, and many of the top English players, like the Burgess brothers, playing in the NRL, McNamara’s new role is not expected to impact too much on his England duties.

“I would like to thank the RFL Board of Directors for giving me this opportunity to carry on working with an outstanding group of players who I firmly believe are on the verge of achieving sustained success,” said McNamara.

“I have a great team around me within the England camp and the RFL Performance Department and I will be maintaining regular contact with them all, as well as all the Elite Training Squad players, following my move to Australia.

“I am going to miss rubbing shoulders with the fantastic RFL staff that I have been privileged to work with over the last four years: I’m indebted to them for their friendship and support.

“It’s always been an ambition of mine to coach in the NRL and the chance to work with the NRL champions is something that doesn’t come along very often.

“I have a great relationship with Trent Robinson and am looking forward to working alongside him and the rest of the Roosters staff in what is a very exciting chapter in my career.”

England’s next scheduled fixtures will take place in the 2014 Four Nations in Australia and New Zealand next autumn. England are not expected to play a fixture on home soil until 2016.

McNamara was still under contract at the RFL, but the sport’s governing body were keen to maintain continuity after a successful World Cup campaign.

Chief executive Nigel Wood said they were delighted to thrash out an agreement to keep McNamara – the former Hull FC forward has been in charge for four years – as England coach on a part-time basis, combining it with his new job in Sydney.

“It gives me great pleasure to confirm that Steve has agreed to continue as England coach into 2014 when we will be looking to build on the advances seen over the last four years,” said Wood.

“We have made considerable progress internationally over the past four years and this arrangement provides stability and continuity.

“It also allows Steve and the England coaching staff to continue working towards our goal of achieving the international success we so narrowly missed out on in Rugby League World Cup 2013.

“The systems and structures that have been put in place during Steve’s tenure as England coach have put Rugby League in this country in a good place and this move will ensure that we continue to make progress.

“Steve can also realise his own desire to return to club coaching and I am sure his involvement with Sydney Roosters will have a positive impact on his own career development.”

Roosters coach Robinson said he was looking forward to working with McNamara.

“I have a lot of respect for the work Steve has put in to developing England’s players and squad and I’m pleased to have him joining our staff,” said Robinson.

“I have known Steve for a long time and he will do a great job rounding out our team alongside Jason Taylor and Craig Fitzgibbon. Steve is a coach with huge integrity and I’m looking forward to him applying his knowledge and contributing to our development at the Sydney Roosters in 2014.”