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John Kear (born 25 November 1954) is an English rugby league coach who is the head coach of Bradford Bulls and the Wales national rugby league team and also works as a pundit for BBC Sport. He is a former professional rugby league footballer. He is best known as a coach for his Challenge Cup successes with Sheffield Eagles in 1998 and Hull in 2005, as well as his time coaching Wakefield Trinity in the late 2000s. As a player, he played on the Wing or in the Centre position for Castleford.

John Kear
John Kear Batley.jpg
Personal information
Born (1954-11-25) 25 November 1954 (age 64)
Castleford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Playing information
PositionWing, Centre, Fullback
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1978–88 Castleford 133 37 0 0 132
Coaching information
Years Team Gms W D L W%
1995–96 PSG 44 9 1 34 20
1997–99 Sheffield Eagles 65 24 3 38 37
2000 Huddersfield-Sheffield 28 4 0 24 14
2005–06 Hull 43 24 2 17 56
2006–11 Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 153 64 1 88 42
2011–16 Batley Bulldogs
2018– Bradford Bulls 63 46 1 16 73
Total 396 171 8 217 43
Years Team Gms W D L W%
1997 France 1 1 0 0 100
2000 England 6 4 0 2 67
2014– Wales 8 4 0 4 50
As of 8 September 2019
Source: [1][2]


Kear was born in Castleford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England.

Playing careerEdit

County Cup Final appearancesEdit

John Kear played as a left wing, i.e. number 5, in Castleford's 2-13 defeat by Hull in the 1983 Yorkshire County Cup Final during the 1983–84 season at Elland Road, Leeds on Saturday 15 October 1983.

Coaching careerEdit

Early careerEdit

After stints working as a conditioner for Castleford, as head coach of Bramley (1992), working in the player performance department of the Rugby Football League, head coach of Paris Saint-Germain, and assistant coach to both England and Great Britain, he took over the coaching reins at Sheffield Eagles in 1997, taking them to the Premiership semi-final in that year. A year later he was the coach who led Sheffield Eagles to a Challenge Cup final victory over Wigan; this triumph has been described as one of the greatest shocks in Challenge Cup history.[3]

Sheffield merged with Huddersfield after the 1999 season and Kear retained his job as coach of the merged side before moving on to become the assistant coach to Stuart Raper at Wigan.

He was coach of the England team in the 2000 World Cup,[4] leading them to the semi-finals.

Later careerEdit

He left Wigan for the first team coach role at Hull, working with Shaun McRae. He stepped up to first team coach at Hull in 2005 when predecessor Shaun McRae left to take charge of South Sydney Rabbitohs.[5] He led the club to victory over Leeds, by a 25-24 scoreline in the 2005 Challenge Cup in his first season. However, in April 2006 he was sacked by Hull[6]

Kear in 2007

He took charge of Wakefield Trinity in July 2006 where he steered the team clear of relegation with four wins from the last six matches of the season, culminating in the great escape and condemning Castleford to relegation to National League 1.

In 2007 he fielded a predominantly untried squad and led Trinity to 8th position in the Super League, their second highest Super League finish.

In 2009 Kear led Wakefield Trinity to 5th position, their highest ever Super League finish. The team were knocked out of the first round of the play-offs by Catalans Dragons.

In 2011 Kear left Wakefield Trinity to become head coach of Batley.

On 16 July 2014 Kear succeeded Iestyn Harris as head coach of Wales, a role he undertook alongside his position at Batley and subsequently at Bradford Bulls.[7] His first game was against Scotland in the 2014 European Cup. He lost the opening game by a score of 42-18 in horrible weather conditions.[8] After a horrible[clarification needed] 2014 European Cup event, his more 'strengthened' Welsh team took on Scotland again in the opening match of the 2015 Tournament. John's team earned their first ever victory after a spree of 12 consecutive defeats which began back in 2011.[9] Wales went on to be unbeaten in the tournament resulting in them winning their first European Cup tournament since 2010.[10] The following year, he was required to make Wales qualify for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup via the European qualifiers. In the opening game at Llanelli, Wales thrashed Serbia by 50 points.


  1. ^ Rugby League Project
  2. ^ Rugby League Project Coaching
  3. ^ "History". Rugby Football League. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  4. ^ "Fiji send warning to Kear's troops (03.11.2000)". Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  5. ^ "Coaches and Captains". 31 December 2016. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
  6. ^ "BBC SPORT - Rugby League - Super League - Hull - Kear makes swift Hull departure". Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  7. ^ "John Kear replaces Iestyn Harris as Wales coach". Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  8. ^ "Brough leads Scotland to victory over Wales". Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  9. ^ "WALES 18 SCOTLAND 12". WALES RUGBY LEAGUE. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  10. ^ "European Championship: Wales beat Ireland to win title". BBC Sport. Retrieved 7 November 2015.

External linksEdit