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England coach Wayne Bennett.

South Sydney mentor Wayne Bennett has been appointed coach of the England team for October's Rugby League World Cup Nines after insisting on the role.

Bennett will oversee England's campaign in the 12-team men's tournament at Bankwest Stadium before taking charge of the Great Britain squad for the first Rugby League Lions tour of the southern hemisphere since 2006.

The Lions will play Tests against New Zealand in Auckland and Christchurch, Tonga in Hamilton and Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby.

Bennett will travel to England in June to finalise preparations for the end-of-season international program.

"We did consider having someone else coach, with Wayne overseeing, but he wants to do it and when you have got somebody like that who wants to do it and wants to be a part of it it made complete sense," RFL Rugby Director Kevin Sinfield said.

"Wayne's got some experience at working in Nines, having been involved with the NRL Nines with Brisbane previously."

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The World Cup Nines on October 18-19 will be the only time England plays this year. Sinfield said the tournament would be an important part of the team's build-up towards the 2021 World Cup in England.

"It's really important to the England program that we have some sort of get together in 2019," Sinfield said.

Craig Richards will coach the England women's team at the inaugural tournament.

Regarding the Lions tour, the RFL will shortly write to the other Home Nations – Wales, Scotland and Ireland – inviting applications to fill the vacancy left on Bennett's support staff by the recent move to rugby union of James Lowes.

Bennett's appointment follows that of former Newcastle and Huddersfield coach Rick Stone as Lebanon mentor for the mid-season Test against Fiji at Leichhardt Oval and the World Cup Nines.

Former Canberra and South Sydney centre Brandon Costin will coach Fiji.

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