Richard Agar believes taking on a part-time role as France head coach will help and not hinder his job at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
The French Rugby League Federation unveiled Agar on Monday as the man to lead them into this year’s Rugby League World Cup.
The role will be a part-time one, with Agar insisting it will not impact upon his work at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium. If anything, he believes it will help improve him as a coach, something that will in-turn benefit Wakefield.
“I’m not panicking and sweating that I’ve got too much on my plate - far from it,” said the Cats boss.
“I’m actually quite excited and looking forward to it. I think it’ll develop me and enhance me as a coach and I think it’s good for the profile of our club.
“For me it’s going to open my eyes to some different things and I’m sure I’ll come back a better coach heaving learned something and become more experienced.”
He continued: “I think it gives you a lot of energy at the end of the year to tell you the truth. I think it’s something that stimulates you.
“It’s great to mix with a different group of players, especially elite ones, and the different challenges that brings. I can only see it enhancing me as a coach, pitting my wits against teams like New Zealand and having to go and work with some top-class players over in France.
“I have got some good support around me that is based on the ground in France officially and unofficially. I wouldn’t have taken the job if I felt that it would in any way shape or form impact on my performance at Wakefield.”
Agar, who was interviewed for the England job before Steve McNamara got the role, will test himself against international teams such as New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Samoa when the competition kicks-off in October - and potentially against some of his Wakefield players.
His focus will be fully on Wakefield during the Super League season, however, something he was mindful of when considering the position.
“I had some really good conversations with [Wildcats chief executive] James Elston and [chairman] Andrew Glover and the rest of the board, my coaching staff and senior players,” Agar revealed.
“A lot of the logistical planning is already in place such as where they’re [France] training, who they’re playing.
“You would expect the bulk of the squad to come from Catalans Dragons and you can’t get access to them until they’re out of the competition so there’s little in terms of contact time with the players between now and September.”
Agar has started taking French lessons, with some help from Outwood Grange Academy, but says the bulk of his coaching and playing staff in France are already English speaking.
“I’ve already signed up with a tutor and I’ve got tapes in the car,” he said.
“I’m not stupid enough to think that in six months’ time I’m going to be able to run video meetings and do team talks in fluent French, absolutely not. Nor am I going to go down the line of speaking English with a French accent on there as some people have tried to pull off in the past.
“Outwood Grange have been very forthcoming and accommodating in arranging me some one-on-one tuition which I’m going to take up immediately.
“It’s something I have flirted with in the past, I started to dip my toe in the pond a little bit about doing it and that was long before this job came about because it was something that, as a personal challenge, I really fancied doing for myself away from the game.
“I’m going to do it and I’m going to see it through whether it takes me six months or a couple of years to do, I’m going to go ahead and make sure I get to a proficient level.
“That apart, the bulk of the staff around me are English speaking and I know quite a number of players are English speaking as well. At times there will be some hurdles in there and I’ll need some help but there’s enough support for me to get by.”