Mal Meninga succeeds Tim Sheens as Australia head coach

Mal Meninga
Meninga's Queensland won nine out of 10 Origin series

Australia have appointed former Queensland boss Mal Meninga as their new coach.

The 55-year-old, who spent a season with St Helens in the mid-1980s, takes over on a four-year deal.

He succeeds Tim Sheens, who resigned in October to become full-time director of rugby with Super League side Salford Red Devils.

"It is truly an honour to be in this position," said Meninga, a former Australia Test captain and centre.

"It's always been something I've wanted to do."

Meninga's main goal is to lead the defence of Australia's World Cup title in 2017, to be co-hosted by Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

His first major international competition will be next year's Four Nations in Britain, where Australia will take on New Zealand, England and Scotland.

His appointment has been backed by current Queensland and Australia captain Cameron Smith.

"I couldn't think of a coach more suited to this role, given Mal's achievements as a former Kangaroos captain and his understanding of what representing Australia means," Smith said.