By Marc Bazeley
Last Updated: 01/06/20 10:18pm
Shaun Wane is confident England’s Rugby League World Cup ambitions will not be hampered by the cancellation of this year’s Ashes series.
England were due to host a long-awaited three-match series against old rivals Australia in October and November, but that has now been shelved as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Head coach Wane remains optimistic the national team will be able to get some sort of contest – even if it is against the England Knights team – this winter and is eager to set up a mid-season international in 2021, although even if those plans fall through he insists his squad will be well-prepared for next year’s World Cup on these shores.
“I will never say I am at a disadvantage to someone,” Wane said. “If we do not get any games, we will have camps, have days and sessions.
“Me and my staff just have to make them the best quality for those players. I will never ever make excuses.
“I haven’t got a fixed number of games in my mind, but I would like to have a game at the end of this year and a mid-season game.
I will never say I am at a disadvantage to someone. If we do not get any games, we will have camps, have days and sessions.
“A game against the Knights, we would get something out of that because there are certain areas we want to concentrate on and it would be a bit more intense. If that is what we need to do, and if we have two games, then I think we will be in good shape going into the World Cup.”
Wane has already considered the prospect of a revival of the Exiles concept, which saw the best of Super League’s overseas players take on the England team from 2011 to 2013, as a possibility for the end of the year.
Matches involving Wales, Scotland or Ireland, who are all planning for next year’s World Cup too, are another possibility. However, Wane is adamant any potential opponent must provide high-quality competition for the England team.
“The other day I was in the garden and I picked an Exiles team of players I’d seen in Super League, and it was a very strong team – it was as good as any Test team,” Wane said. “So, it would be great for the fans over here to watch a game like that of that standard.
“But I know there’s a lot of things could happen, so it’s not certain of being on, but if there’s a chance I know [RFL chief executive] Ralph [Rimmer] has always been very supportive of me and helped me in every way he can, and I know he’ll do his best in the same way.
“Super League is strong, and we’ve got players from all of the Home Nations in Super League. A game is a game, but for me, as national coach, I would want it to be as high quality as possible. That would be the key.”
Source : Sky Sports