England could be sent to Coventry for Four Nations game

England Coach Steve McNamara.
England Coach Steve McNamara.
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Coventry’s Ricoh Arena could stage rugby league for the first time this year.

The stadium is among the venues being considered for the 2016 Four Nations Series, The Yorkshire Post understands.

The 32,609-capacity arena, which is also the home of Premiership rugby union club Wasps, was viewed as a potential venue for the 2015 Magic Weekend before it was taken to Newcastle, which will also host the two-day event in 2016.

Rugby Football League chief executive Nigel Wood declined to confirm any of the likely venues but said the schedule was close to being finalised.

It is thought organisers are considering launching the tournament, in which Scotland have qualified to line up alongside England, Australia and New Zealand, with a double-header on Saturday, October 29.

There will be further round-robin matches on November 5 and 12, with the final on Saturday, November 19.

Organisers are giving serious consideration to taking a game north of the border following Scotland’s 2014 European Championship triumph which earned them a place at the top table and are also committed to taking a game to London.

The RFL is keen to return to the Olympic Stadium after drawing a crowd of 44,393 for England’s Test match against New Zealand last November but need to resolve difficulties over availability.

Meanwhile, Wood said an announcement on the future of England coach Steve McNamara is likely to be made in February.

McNamara’s two-year contract expired at the end of the Test series triumph over the Kiwis in November and the lengthy time lapse suggests it is not guaranteed to be renewed.

The Yorkshire Post understands Wood has met McNamara three times since the end of the series, including 
once during a visit to Sydney while accompanied by RFL chairman Brian Barwick on international business earlier this month.

McNamara recently signed a new two-year contract as a full-time assistant coach at Sydney Roosters and is due to fly to England next month for the World Club Series in which the Roosters take on Super League side St Helens at Langtree Park on February 19.

The Rugby Football League is to trial the use of tap kicks instead of scrums as a way of restarting play after a 40-20 kick.

The system is currently used in the NRL and will be one of three experimental rules to be tried out in reserve-grade games in 2016.

In another change, if a team quickly forms a scrum to enable the referee to call time off, they must remain in the same positions when play resumes, which might remove the unusual sight of outside backs forming a front row if they are nearest to the referee.

The third experiment will see one forward in an attacking team being allowed to line up outside the scrum.

Meanwhile, the RFL has confirmed it will revert to having one video referee in televised games this year in an effort to speed up the decision-making process.

Sydney Roosters captain Mitchell Pearce has left Australia to undergo treatment in an intensive rehabilitation facility after publicly admitting he has a problem with alcohol.

Pearce, 26, was stood down from training after a video showing him engaging in a lewd act on Australia Day was aired on the Nine Network. He looks certain to miss the Roosters’ World Club Challenge clash with St Helens at Langtree Park next month.