McNamara backs Hall deal
England coach Steve McNamara has welcomed the decision of Leeds Rhinos winger Ryan Hall to sign a new five-year contract, claiming it sends out "a pretty strong message".
The 26-year-old Hall, England's record tryscorer with 21 touchdowns in 20 appearances including eight in five matches at the 2013 World Cup, has committed his future to the Rhinos and to First Utility Super League until the end of 2018.
Although he had three years left on his existing contract with his home-town club, Hall's decision to extend his stay beyond his 30th birthday ensures he will not be following England team-mates Sam Tomkins and Sam Burgess out of Super League.
Tomkins is now with New Zealand Warriors in the NRL while Sydney-based Burgess will switch codes and join Bath in October.
"It's fantastic news," McNamara told Press Association Sport from Australia, where he is working as an assistant coach of Sydney Roosters.
"A player of his quality is going to be in demand. I think every club in Super League would love to have him and there is rugby union and the NRL so for Leeds to secure his services for that length of time is a huge coup first and foremost for the Rhinos and for rugby league in general.
"I don't know specifically of any interest from the NRL but everyone talks very highly of Ryan in Australia and I'd be surprised if there wasn't any. With a few years left on his contract, it would have been really difficult for an NRL club but to extend it is a smart thing that Leeds have done.
"With an England rugby union World Cup on the horizon, I am sure Ryan was targeted and spoken about a lot by people in rugby union looking to strengthen in certain areas.
"I think we all had fears that we might lose another player or two but Ryan's one of our star players in the competition and the England team and to keep him sends a pretty strong message."
Hall's decision comes six months after another England winger, Tom Briscoe, rejected the chance to move to the NRL in favour of a move from Hull FC to Leeds.
"As I've said all along, living in Australia and playing in the NRL is great but it's not for everybody," McNamara added. "There are people who it suits and people it doesn't suit.
"I am sure both those players have their reasons for moving to and staying with Leeds and it's great for our game and certainly our domestic competition."