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McNamara banks on Test experience

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/05/2017 Ian Laybourn, Press Association Sport

Former England coach Steve McNamara believes his experience on the international stage will help New Zealand rediscover their winning touch.

The 45-year-old former Bradford and Great Britain forward, who was in charge of England from 2010-15, was drafted onto the Kiwis' backroom staff as assistant to rookie head coach David Kidwell this year.

It followed a review into last year's Four Nations Series in which they were held to a draw by minnows Scotland and hammered by Australia in the final, which enabled the Kangaroos to reclaim the world No.1 ranking.

McNamara's contract was not renewed after guiding England to a Test series win over New Zealand 18 months ago and he was replaced by veteran Australian Wayne Bennett.

He returns to the international scene on Friday when the Kiwis and Kangaroos do battle in the annual ANZAC Test in Canberra.

"Coaching at international level is so different to what you do at club level," said McNamara in his first interview in his new role.

"From an England perspective, we were striving to catch the southern hemisphere teams, we were looking to improve in every aspect and we went a long way to doing that.

"So it's those experiences that I've gained in trying to achieve that from an England perspective, coaching against the Australians and New Zealanders, that will hopefully put us in a better position to be successful with this New Zealand team."

McNamara, who switched his role as assistant coach from Sydney Roosters to New Zealand Warriors in the off-season, is expecting a close contest in Canberra.

"International sport is the pinnacle and it's always a challenge," he said.

"When the best players in the world go up against each other you are always in for something special."

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