AAP Rugby

England confident Bennett will stay on

By AAP Newswire

Wayne Bennett is expected to stay on as England coach for the 2021 World Cup, according to national team's rugby director Kevin Sinfield.

The 68-year-old Australian succeeded Steve McNamara in February 2016 on an initial two-year contract and signed a new two-year deal with the Rugby Football League after guiding England to the World Cup final last December.

Bennett's stock has risen further with a Test series win over New Zealand already completed ahead of Sunday's third game at Leeds.

And former England, Great Britain and Leeds star Sinfield said: "The plan for all the teams was to make two-year appointments and review at the end of 2019 which we will continue to.

"I can see him staying on until the World Cup.

"What is important is we carry on progressing and, for us to be in the right position for 2021, we have got to keep on improving on the field."

Sinfield says he does not expect to finalise a long-term deal with Bennett before he flies back to Brisbane next week but believes his move to South Sydney at the end of next season, when he will link up with the Burgess brothers, is a bonus for England.

"We'll see what happens at the end of next year but I think it is a really good move by South Sydney to take him for '20 and '21," Sinfield added.

"Part of my concern would have been if Wayne had gone from Brisbane at the end of 2019 and not had a club coaching job.

"But he goes to South Sydney and is working with three of our stars week in, week out, and sharpening his tools every day."

Sinfield also reckons the veteran coach is starting to shed his dour image.

"Wayne is really enjoying his time working with England, I think more than he expected to," Sinfield said at a 2021 World Cup briefing in Leeds.

"We are now starting to see him smiling at games and he's enjoying himself.

"Wayne has done an outstanding job, he gives belief and confidence to the players, who absolutely love being in camp. He has an aura about him."