Bennett record under microscope in RFL tour review

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By PA Media

Last Updated: 22/11/19 11:42am

Wayne Bennett is out of contract following Great Britain's winter tour
Wayne Bennett is out of contract following Great Britain's winter tour

Wayne Bennett is out of contract following Great Britain’s winter tour

Wayne Bennett’s track record as England coach will be taken into consideration when the Rugby Football League conduct an inquest into this winter’s disastrous Great Britain tour.

Bennett’s contract with the RFL ran out at the end of the Lions’ winless tour of the Southern Hemisphere and chief executive Ralph Rimmer confirmed a decision on the Australian’s future will not be made until the new year.

Before then, Rimmer and RFL director of rugby Kevin Sinfield will lead a wide-ranging review into the tour, with input from all stakeholders including the players and most likely Bennett himself.

Rimmer insists Bennett remains keen to take England into the 2021 World Cup and that performances on the Lions tour will not be the only factor in the review.

“We shouldn’t forget what Wayne has done up until this point,” Rimmer said. “Yes, we had a poor year on the field and nobody can deny that.

“We all hurt – the players, coaching staff and everybody involved in it hurt – but until this point we have progressed really well. We came very close to a World Cup and we beat the Kiwis last year.

“We’re doing the review now – it’s important that it’s considered, reflective and not reactionary to come up with the right answers.

“We’ll take until the end of the year and there will be some recommendations from that which will go to the RFL board in the New Year. We want to win a World Cup in 2021 and need to make sure we’re on track to do that”

Ralph Rimmer

“We’ll take until the end of the year and there will be some recommendations from that which will go to the RFL board in the New Year. We want to win a World Cup in 2021 and need to make sure we’re on track to do that.”

Bennett has been heavily criticised following the Lions’ defeats by Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and a Tonga Invitational XIII and fingers have also been pointed at Sinfield, who combines his RFL role with that of director of rugby at Leeds.

Asked if Sinfield’s position with the governing body is under threat, Rimmer said: “No, it’s not something we have to consider. Kevin is doing the review with me and that’s it.”

Bennett said the absence of a mid-season Test was partly to blame for Great Britain’s defeats and Rimmer says talks are ongoing over a fixture for England next June, ahead of the visit of Australia for next year’s three-Test series.

That game is likely to take place in the Southern Hemisphere, with either the Kiwis or Samoa providing the opposition.

Rimmer, who ruled out a return of the Exiles team, also said midweek fixtures for the Australian tourists in 2020 remain a possibility.

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