France appoint Agar as coach
France turned to Richard Agar as the man to succeed fellow Englishman Bobbie Goulding after first choice Laurent Frayssinous was given charge of Catalan Dragons.
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The 41-year-old Agar, now in his second season at Wakefield, was unveiled as the new French national coach at a press conference in Toulouse.
He will prepare the team for the 2013 World Cup, which starts in October, but will retain his full-time role as Wakefield head coach and insists his new appointment will not impact on his duties with the Wildcats.
Agar, who was short-listed for the England job at the time of Steve McNamara's appointment two years ago, will be assisted by former French international Jerome Guisset, the Catalan Dragons assistant coach, and Thierry Dumaine, who worked alongside Aurelien Cologni in a caretaker role following the departure of Goulding in November 2011.
Guisset will provide a link between the national team and the Dragons but French Federation president Carlos Zaluendo, who took office last month, revealed at today's press conference that his new club boss Frayssinous had been lined up for the job.
"I first thought of entrusting the job to Laurent Frayssinous but the departure of Trent Robinson, whom he succeeded as coach of the Dragons, changed the situation," Zaluendo said.
"I do not want to minimise the role played by the previous staff but we wanted a coach from Super League or the NRL for a team composed of 80% of the Dragons players.
"When I met Trent Robinson, while on vacation in Toulouse in December, I told him of Richard's candidacy and he said he is perhaps the best technician currently working in Super League.
"We met in London and we were immediately on the same wavelength."
Agar, formerly in charge of York and Hull, shot to prominence after transforming the fortunes of the Wildcats, guiding them to the play-offs in his first season, and he says Wakefield will remain his priority until the end of the 2013 domestic season.
He said: "It's very, very important for people to know Wakefield is my bread and butter and what I'm passionate about.
"There's no way I would have considered taking the job if I felt there was any compromise anywhere down the line and the French people know that too.
"We have worked out a very happy arrangement and we think we can make it work in terms of what we can commit to the team too.
"I think it's a great time to be involved with France. To be able to take part in a World Cup as a coach is something everybody has an aspiration to do.
"There is going to be no camps because of the access to the Catalans players.
"The way the Federation and myself see it running is that there is a big enough window of opportunity post-season from the end of the comp to when the first game is.
"I am confident there is enough time there, especially with the bulk of the players coming from one side, you can appreciate it's probably different to some other nations.
"There are some gaps in the calendar and I'm over in France with Wakefield in a couple of weeks so I'll have half a day at some time to pick up on some meetings.
"At the end of the year I'll be gone and out of the country for a few weeks but that's the off season."
Wakefield chief executive James Elston said: "Richard takes the role with our blessing and, knowing how hard he works, I'm certain he'll make a success of taking the French side into a tournament that will be a tremendous showcase for the sport.
"It won't impact his work with the club and we see the opportunity for Richard to develop as a positive not only for him, but the extra experience he will bring back can only be of benefit to our players and coaching staff."