Shaun Wane is hoping to set up a “high quality” match for England before the end of the year and has not ruled out taking on an Exiles team or one of the home nations.
The cancellation of this autumn’s Ashes series was confirmed on Monday morning, partly to help domestic competitions in England and Australia struggle to get over the line due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It represents a sizeable bump in the road in terms of Wane’s plans for next year’s World Cup, if not a wholly unexpected one. The England coach is keen to schedule a mid-season test in 2021 ahead of the World Cup in October and November of next year – and is still hoping there may be a way to squeeze in a match this year too.
Wane believes a match against the best overseas talent the Super League has to offer would represent a decent test.
He said: “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, 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 Ralph (Rimmer, RFL chief executive) 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.”
Asked about the prospect of facing one or more of Scotland, Wales or Ireland, Wane replied: “Definitely.
“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.”
Discussions have already been opened on the potential for England hosting Australia in a three-match Ashes series from 2022 onwards.
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