England Rugby League today confirms that Shaun Wane (Men), Stuart Barrow (Women) and Tom Coyd (Wheelchair) will be the national teams’ head coaches through to the 2025 World Cup in France.
Wane took England’s Men to the semi-finals of RLWC2021, where they were agonisingly beaten by Samoa in golden point extra-time at London’s Emirates Stadium.
England’s Women also suffered semi-final heartbreak at RLWC2021 – Head of England Pathways Barrow is now tasked with taking the side one step further at RLWC2025.
Barrow will be assisted by the Leeds Rhinos head coach and former England captain Lois Forsell, and Dec Hardman, who was the head coach of St Helens when they secured a Women’s Challenge Cup and Super League double in 2021.
Coyd guided England Wheelchair to a memorable World Cup Final victory over France last Autumn and will look to repeat the magic against the French on their home soil in 2025.
On the matter, RFL Chair Simon Johnson said: “I am delighted to confirm these appointments and I wish all three coaches every success – beginning with the Men’s and Women’s Mid-Season Internationals against France in April.
“The RFL Board received and considered at length a detailed review of the performance of each of the England teams at RLWC2021. No stone was left unturned in the review, which included submissions from coaches, players and staff alike. The report generated a good, robust and lengthy discussion at our February board meeting. We are confident that we have the right people in place.”
But how has the wider rugby league community reacted?
One fan described it as a “short sighted” decision because England need new blood. He felt Wane named the wrong squad for the last World Cup too.
Don’t agree with Wane as Eng coach. He had his chance last year, with a good timeline to prepare & picked the wrong squad with the most, blindly obvious game plan played out in the semis and totally failed. We needed new blood at the top IMO. Very short sighted decision
— david crompton (@crompono1) February 28, 2023
That was in stark contrast to another fan who said that the teams were in “good hands.”
The international teams are in good hands
— Dave Banks (@dtb37) February 28, 2023
Meanwhile, others echoed this take describing it as “the right decision.”
Shaun Wane staying on as England coach for the 2025 World Cup is the right decision. #RugbyLeague
— Gavin Wilson (@GavWilson) February 28, 2023
But, as aforementioned, that wasn’t everyone’s view point with one fan believing that Wane would pick the same squad again despite the fact many believe it needs to be freshened up:
So that’s Tomkins, McIlorum, Cooper and Hill guaranteed a place 🙄
— Old Man Winter (@OldManWinter999) February 28, 2023
Either way, the important thing now is to create an international calendar. It is unclear who England will meet at the end of the year after a clash with France mid-season.
Now please keep pushing the @NRL to get a proper long term International calendar sorted! No point having coaches if there’s no fixtures
— Spike (@ikeiscool1986) February 28, 2023