England boss Shaun Wane upset at Super League clubs over fixture clash for Combined Nations All Stars game
National coach Shaun Wane admits he is “disappointed” England’s first World Cup warm-up match clashes with a full round of Betfred Super League fixtures.
England will play Combined Nations All Stars at Warrington’s HJ Stadium on Friday, June 25.
It is Wane’s first game as coach after last year’s internationals were cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
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But Super League - which is run by member clubs, while the RFL oversees the England side - has arranged round 11 of the competition for that weekend, including Leeds Rhinos’ trip to Salford Red Devils and home games for Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Trinity, against Catalans Dragons and Wigan Warriors respectively.
Wane described that as “disappointing”, but pledged his team selection will not leave any club at a significant disadvantage.
“It is international weekend and I wanted a stand-alone fixture so it didn’t put pressure on any Super League teams, but we didn’t get that,” he said.
“That’s disappointing, but the clubs - as a whole - have been really behind us and helping me in any way they can.”
Wane insisted: “I will do anything I can to not put teams under pressure.
“Teams like St Helens and Warrington and potentially Hull are going to have a lot of players in, so when it comes to the time - like I said to the head coaches - if James Roby is absolutely killing the competition and he’s a dead-set certainty for the World Cup, then I’ll have a look at another hooker.
“If I can help St Helens out, or Wigan or Warrington or Hull, I will do that. That’s the relationship we’ve got with most of the head coaches.”
Hull’s owner Adam Pearson has hinted he may not release players to the Combined Nations, but Wane wants the opposition to be as strong as possible.
“I am hoping the clubs will understand the big picture,” he stressed. “The majority of people I speak to dead-set understand what a successful World Cup campaign will do for Super League and the game in general.
“I don’t understand Adam because he has known about this for 12 months; this has been in, he has agreed it, then all of a sudden to come out and say what he said, I don’t understand it. I’ve spoken to him and spoken to Brett [Hodgson, Hull’s coach] numerous times and asked if anyone has a problem or question and nobody said a word.”
The Exiles, who took on England in four fixtures from 2011-13, were made up only of southern hemisphere imports, but players from all countries other than England will be available for the All Stars side, including the other Home Nations, France and Jamaica.
Wane said: “As long as we are playing a game against a very good team, that’s like a Test match, I am happy.”
The former Wigan boss confirmed Fiji are possible opposition for England’s second and final practice game, around 10 days before their World Cup campaign begins against Samoa on October 23.
And he used Castleford Tigers’ Jake Trueman - who was not in the performance squad Wane announced last November - as an example to stress World Cup selection will be based on performances.
“I am all about form,” he said. “If Jake Trueman is our best half this year, he will play in the World Cup. It is dead-set on the players.”
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