Former England boss Steve McNamara has been confirmed as the new coach of Catalans Dragons.

The Perpignan-based Super League club have announced the 45-year-old ex-Bradford coach has agreed a three-and-a-half year deal to take charge from this week.

McNamara, who was released from his role as assistant coach at New Zealand Warriors to take up the position, succeeds the sacked Laurent Frayssinous.

His first job will be to ensure the club avoid relegation, having slipped to ninth in Super League following a 56-12 home hammering by Huddersfield in their last game.

McNamara said: “I am honoured to be appointed as the head coach of the Catalans Dragons.

“The club has a huge potential and I look forward to working closely with the current group of staff and players, helping the team to improve in all areas of our performance and organisation.”

McNamara, a former Hull, Bradford, Wakefield and Huddersfield forward, began his coaching career with the Bulls Academy before taking over their first team in 2006.

Steve McNamara spent five years as England coach
Steve McNamara spent five years as England coach (Martin Rickett/PA)

He was appointed England coach in 2010 and led the national side to the 2013 World Cup semi-finals.

He left the job in 2015 after a series win over New Zealand but by then was already combining duties with a backroom role at the Sydney Roosters. He joined the Auckland-based Warriors last autumn and was also recently appointed assistant coach to the New Zealand national team.

Warriors managing director Jim Doyle said: “We would have loved Steve to remain until the end of this season but we don’t want to stop him being able to take up a position like this.”

On leaving the Warriors, McNamara said: “I love this club and the people here but the opportunity to take up a head coaching role has suddenly become available.

“I can’t thank the Vodafone Warriors enough for their understanding and enabling me to take up this job as soon as possible.”

Jerome Guisset and Michael Monaghan, who had been in joint caretaker charge at Catalans since the club parted company with Frayssinous in May, are to remain with the Dragons.

Dragons chairman Bernard Guasch said: “The signing of Steve McNamara is a great news for our club.

“My wish was to find an English coach, recognised and respected in his country and in this competition and the choice of Steve, the former England coach, was the best in my opinion.”

Warrington coach Tony Smith comes up against good friend Steve McNamara on Saturday
Warrington coach Tony Smith comes up against good friend Steve McNamara on Saturday (Dave Howarth/PA)

McNamara’s first game in charge will be Saturday’s trip to Warrington.

Wolves coach Tony Smith, who had McNamara as his assistant when he coached the national side, said: “I have a good friendship with Steve that goes back a very long time, probably 20 years.

“I’m highly supportive and hope he does well whatever he does. They’re getting a quality person and a quality coach.”