England teams to play Italy and Samoa in World Cup warm-up

England, Italy, England Knights and Samoa will contest a double-header at Salford City Stadium on Saturday October 19.

Seven days before they kick off the 14-nation Rugby League World Cup against Australia in Cardiff, England will complete their preparations with a warm-up fixture against Italy which kicks off at 4.30pm.

Before then, England Knights will face Samoa at the same venue at 2.00pm in a game which England coach Steve McNamara believes is an equally important part of the national team’s World Cup plans.

McNamara said: “They’re massive games for us, and for Italy and Samoa as well. We fly back in to the country from our warm-weather training camp in South Africa on the Wednesday and will be looking to put a few finishing touches to the work we’ve done when we hit the field at Salford on the Saturday.

“There is a strong likelihood that some of the World Cup squad will be involved in the Knights game as well: this is the first opportunity we will have had in a long time to play the NRL-based players and some of them may be in need of an extended run.

“Both matches are about getting us ready to be the best we can be for kick-off against Australia.”

The England v Italy match will be the first time the two nations have met at senior international level and the fixture is equally important for Italy, who faces Wales in the opening double-header of RLWC2013 at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on Saturday October 26.

Samoa open their RLWC2013 campaign with a match against holders New Zealand on Sunday October 27 at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington, and England coach Steve McNamara feels the Knights players will benefit from providing the South Sea Islanders with warm-up opposition.

“It’s a great opportunity to provide exposure to world class opposition to some of our younger players, as well as established England players,” said McNamara.

“The match also allows us to cover for many eventualities, including the possibility of giving some players the chance to play themselves into World Cup selection.”

McNamara will announce his 24-man RLWC2013 squad on Tuesday October 1 and under tournament rules is allowed to make changes due to injuries or other factors after the internationals against Italy and Samoa.

Tickets for the England international double header are available now at £15 for adults and £5 for concessions. Fans can also take advantage of a Salford City Stadium double event offer where you can get the Scotland v USA RLWC2013 match on Thursday November 7 as well as both England matches for £20 adults and £10 concessions.

Tickets are available by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk or by calling the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 856 1113.

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