Tim Sheens has resigned as Australia’s national coach to take over as full-time director of rugby with English Super League club Salford.
Sheens guided Australia to victory at the 2013 World Cup, but the 64-year-old has spent the past two months working at Salford on a short-term advisory basis at the invitation of owner Marwan Koukash, and has now decided to make the role permanent.
The former Canberra, Wests Tigers and North Queensland boss agreed a three-year contract.
“Now we’ve survived successfully in Super League, I’ve had a good talk with the family and to Marwan,” Sheens said.
“He offered me a three-year deal and we’ve accepted it.
“So I’ve resigned from the Australian group and I’ll be ready to start in November.”
Sheens could not stop Salford finishing in the Super League’s bottom four this season, but after head coach Iestyn Harris left he assisted Ian Watson as they secured a top-flight place for next term by finishing third in the qualifiers.
He had been in charge of Australia since 2008 when he succeeded Ricky Stuart after their shock World Cup final defeat to New Zealand, and guided them to 26 wins in his 31 matches.
However, Sheens was not expected to be re-appointed in November after they lost three consecutive Tests to the Kiwis and with it the world No.1 ranking.
Sheens has announced that Watson, who has been acting head coach since the departure of Harris two months ago, will remain in charge of the team, with assistance from Martin Gleeson and Garreth Carvell.
“It is a move in a slightly different direction for me,” Sheens said.
“I will be involved in the coaching, but I’m not the senior coach, that will be Watto and I will be assisting him.
“He’s done a great job in the Middle 8s and he should take all the credit for the club surviving in Super League.
“I’ll be a sounding board for him and help him where I can.”