Wakefield boss John Kear has confirmed as has England rugby union defence coach Mike Ford they are not interested in the role as national rugby league coach.
Both men have been linked with the post in charge of the England side recently vacated by Tony Smith, but confirmed they want to focus on current duties.
Kear siad: (quote) While I am extremely flattered to be linked with the national team, I still have a job to do, nobody from the Rugby Football League has been in touch with me or the club. He added: Ihave been tasked by the Wakefield directors to provide the best possible first team, develop a successful career path for players all the way through from the Under-18 team and ensure we have a football operation that will satisfy an application for the next phase of Super League in two years. Those are my priorities and my focus. (end quote)
Ford had been talked up as the bookmakers’ favourite to replace Smith, despite being in union since 2002, but has insisted he wants to stay part of England’s efforts to climb the rankings and mount a challenge at the 2011 World Cup. The former Ireland and Saracens defence coach Ford has been part of the England rugby union back room staff since May 2006.
The England Rugby Union coaching team has been under pressure after a series of lacklustre performances in the autumn Tests against Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, but manager Martin Johnson has strongly suggested that he will remain loyal to his men.
Oldham-born Ford admitted that while he continues to follow rugby league – the sport in which he forged a successful playing career, earning 10 Great Britain caps and entry into the Castleford Hall of Fame – he feels their are enough viable candidates for the job at the helm of the England national side without him switching codes. He said (quote) I am happy where I am and want to stay with England rugby union, we have got a job to do – the ultimate goal being the 2011 World Cup.
I am sure there are plenty of candidates out there. There are plenty to choose from. Steve McNamara springs to mind who has already been on board and seems a natural successor to Tony Smith. (end quote)
Bradford’s McNamara, who has been Smith’s assistant for the last three years, and Hull KR’s Justin Morgan have also been mentioned as possible successors, should the RFL opt for a coach working in the Super League.