McClennan quits Kiwis to coach in UK


Auckland, New Zealand, July 11, 2007 - The New Zealand Rugby League today expressed its disappointment that Brian McClennan has quit as Kiwi coach 15 months out from the 2008 World Cup in Australia.

The NZRL was advised of his resignation late this afternoon.

McClennan said he had decided to accept an offer to become head coach of the Leeds Rhinos in the English Super League.

"We're disappointed Bluey has reached this decision," said NZRL chairman Andrew Chalmers. "We offered him a substantial increase in his package to stay on as Kiwi coach until after next year's World Cup but we have no option but to reluctantly accept his decision."

Chalmers said it was a reality for New Zealand rugby league that big-spending professional clubs in England and Australia would always have the means to target the country's players and coaches.

"We can't compete with the money they can offer but we have to live with that," said Chalmers.

"The NZRL board, players and Kiwi league fans everywhere wish Bluey luck and success at Leeds and thank him for his tremendous contribution to rugby league in New Zealand and overseas."

Chalmers said the NZRL would immediately begin its search for a replacement full-time coach who must be resident in New Zealand, and fully involved in the domestic high performance coaching and development structures.

The NZRL appointments committee chaired by director of football Graham Lowe and supported by Howie Tamati and Frank Endacott (all ex-Kiwi coaches) has been asked to short list candidates and conduct interviews.

soon as possible.