PA Sport

McDermott lands USA head coach role

McDermott lands USA head coach role
By PA Sport

07/07/2015 at 22:44Updated 07/07/2015 at 22:54

Leeds coach Brian McDermott has been given the task of guiding the United States to the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

The former Bradford and Great Britain forward has been appointed as the new head coach of the renamed Hawks, which effectively rules him out of contention to succeed the out-of-contract Steve McNamara as England boss from 2016.

McDermott, now in his fifth season in charge of the Rhinos, will take up his role in the off season and becomes the fourth Super League coach to take charge of America's national team, following in the footsteps of Brian Smith, Matthew Elliott and Terry Matterson.

Under Matterson, the then Tomahawks were surprise quarter-finalists in 2013, a feat that would normally have been enough to guarantee them automatic seeding for the next World Cup but, following an overhaul of the game in the States, they are being forced to qualify.

"I am honoured to be appointed head coach of the USA Hawks," McDermott said in a statement. "We saw in 2013 the impact the USA team can have on the international rugby league game and that is something that excites me as a passionate rugby league fan and coach.

"The main task is to qualify for the 2017 World Cup. But along that journey I hope to have an influence over the development of players coming through and have an input into the broader coaching network in the USA.

"Having had first-hand experience of working with the players in the States, I have been impressed with their attitude, athleticism and commitment to rugby league and that gives us strong foundations to build on."

USARL chairman Peter Illfield said: "Brian has a ready-made relationship with the USA bringing his Leeds Rhinos to coaching camps and matches in Jacksonville, Florida, the most recent in January this year.

"His record speaks for itself with his experience and professionalism providing our American players with valued knowledge of the game."

McDermott's assistant will be Australian and NRL West Tigers strength and conditioning coach Sean Rutgerson, who played for South Africa in the 2000 World Cup.

"Along with our local expertise, the Hawks coaching and management staff will be the best we could possibly assemble for our critical march to Rugby League World Cup 2017", added Illfield.