Ex-rugby league player Hodgson becomes England defense coach

LONDON (AP) — Former Australian rugby league player Brett Hodgson has switched codes to become England’s defense coach in the lead-up to the Rugby World Cup.

Hodgson will replace Anthony Seibold in the role, England said Tuesday, and will start after the autumn internationals. He has, however, joined up with England’s backroom staff ahead of the test against Japan on Saturday and “will shadow Seibold in the upcoming weeks,” England said.

As part of the move, Seibold will leave his England role after the autumn tests and join NRL team Manly Warringah Sea Eagles as its head coach.

It was in the NRL where Hodgson started his rugby league career, making more than 200 appearances before moving to England and winning the prestigious “Man of Steel” award — for the best player in the Super League — with Huddersfield Giants.

He has since coached Hull (twice) and Widnes Vikings in England, and Wests Tigers in his native Australia.

Hodgson will work under fellow Australian Eddie Jones, who will coach England through the Rugby World Cup taking place in France starting September.

“I’m really excited about opportunity to join with England, especially in a Rugby World Cup year,” Hodgson said.

“I’m really looking forward to working with the staff and this group of players. There is some real talent here and it’s something I feel I can make a contribution to in helping this team succeed.”

Jones said Hodgson first visited the England squad in 2018.

“He was an outstanding league player and he’s a talented, hard-working young coach who is developing,” Jones said.

“We are disappointed to lose Anthony but we are really pleased for him as a career move. It’s great to see assistant coaches move on to head coach roles.”


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