Exclusive: Clarity on England-Samoa series imminent with high-ranking call this week

Aaron Bower
Shaun Wane England Alamy

England head coach Shaun Wane - Alamy

England’s plans for 2024 should finally become clear by the end of this week, with high-level talks planned between officials on both sides of the world to determine who Shaun Wane’s side will face at the end of this season, Love Rugby League has learned.

There is still major uncertainty over what the schedule for England‘s men looks like at the end of this season.

A three-match series against Samoa had been announced by the Rugby Football League last November, before the Samoans announced they had turned down that invitation to tour England.

However, later in the month, the RFL insisted talks had re-opened and they were still hopeful they could persuade them to take up the invitation.

But with the new Super League season just days away, there is still no clarification on what will be happening in the autumn. However, Love Rugby League has been told that saga is now reaching a resolution, with a call planned between officials in the northern and southern hemisphere on Thursday night UK time.

The goal of that call is to finally work out whether or not Samoa intend to travel to England later this year and if not, what the contingency plan for Wane’s side is.

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What are England’s other options if Samoa series doesn’t go ahead?

England’s back-up options look limited, with the possibility of getting involved in a European Championship unlikely to provide the meaningful competition Wane and his players would want ahead of a tour Down Under to Australia next year.

The hope is that Samoa will commit to touring after agreeing to re-engage with the RFL over talks about making the trip, and by the end of this week, it should finally become clear what the answer is.

IRL chair Troy Grant said in December that the international governing body were fully committed to offering Samoa the support they needed to ensure they can successfully tour England.

“Rugby League Samoa will work with the IRL and RFL to understand any hurdles needed to overcome in making the tour a successful reality and continue to build on the wonderful legacy they have recently achieved,” he said. However, Samoa’s preference was initially to enter the Pacific Bowl in 2024 – but their stance could now have changed. 

England already have a mid-season international away in France pencilled in for the summer, a game which has already been confirmed by officials in France.

And clarity on what happens this autumn is now imminent it seems, with high-ranking officials set to finally lock in what the international calendar looks like on both sides of the world by the end of this week. 

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