sport

Kear appointed Wales coach

Wales have appointed John Kear as coach with the veteran succeeding Iestyn Harris.

Kear, 59, will complete a notable treble, having already coached England and France.

His first tournament will be the European Championships in the autumn when Wales face France, Scotland and Ireland, while his appointment also includes the 2017 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Harris, 38, left the job in April to take charge of Salford.

Wales Rugby League chairman Brian Juliff said: "The appointment of John Kear as head coach brings a wealth of experience forged at the highest level of the game to Wales Rugby League.

"His knowledge and proven ability to bring the very best out of his players makes him an ideal fit for Wales Rugby League at this formative time.

"It was important to bring in someone who shares our values and is committed to our vision to be a top-four rugby league nation in governance and performance.

"John's immediate challenge is to balance a young but very capable Wales squad into a winning team at this year's European Championship and thereafter lay the foundation for success at the Rugby League World Cup 2017.

"I look forward to building a strong and supportive relationship with John to underpin the undoubted potential of Wales Rugby League."

Kear was England coach in the 2000 World Cup and had a brief spell in charge of France in 1997.

The former Castleford player began his coaching career at Bramley in 1992 and, after a brief spell in Super League at Paris St Germain, famously guided Sheffield Eagles to a stunning Challenge Cup final win over Wigan in 1998, and won it again with Hull in 2005.

Kear then took over at Wakefield and for the last two years he has coached Championship club Batley Bulldogs, a role he will continue to perform alongside his Wales appointment.

Kear said: "I'm really delighted to have this opportunity as the new head coach of Wales Rugby League.

"I'm a big believer in international rugby league as my background shows. I really think that I can make a big contribution to the game in Wales that will allow us to qualify and do well in Rugby League World Cup 2017.

"A strong international game is essential for rugby league. The more competitive teams we have at the highest level the better and it's my challenge to turn Wales into one of those top teams.

"I'm really looking forward to a long relationship with Wales Rugby League as we build for 2017 and beyond."