Warrington to host England’s mid-season fixture with Combined Nations All Stars
Warrington will host England’s mid-season fixture with the newly-formed Combined Nations All Stars on Friday, June 25.
Shaun Wane’s first match as national head coach, almost 18 months since his appointment, will be part of a double-header at the Halliwell Jones Stadium to be shown live on Sky Sports, starting with a women’s international between England and Wales.
England’s wheelchair team will also step up their preparations for the end-of-season World Cup with a match against Wales at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield on Saturday, June 26, which will be broadcast by the BBC on their digital platforms.
The fixtures will be part of an international weekend, with matches also taking place in Australia.
The Combined Nations All Stars replaces the Exiles, which played four matches from 2011-13 in the build-up to the 2013 World Cup, and is a throwback to the Other Nationalities that regularly played representative fixtures from 1903 to 1975.
Whereas the Exiles was selected from imports from the southern hemisphere, the All Stars will draw on the other home nations, as well as France and Jamaica.
The Rugby Football League says final interviews for the positions of head coach and selector for the All Stars were conducted on Monday and an announcement will be made later this week.
RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer said: “In such a significant year for rugby league as we prepare to host three World Cups in England, this is an announcement for the whole game to celebrate.
“To have the three England teams who will play in those World Cups in action over the space of 24 hours in June and for the England Women and Wheelchair teams to receive unprecedented levels of broadcast exposure through Sky and the BBC really sets the tone for what we want to achieve this year.
“It’s the best chance yet for rugby league supporters to get behind those teams, as I know they will do in the World Cup.
“For Shaun Wane, who has had to wait so long for his first match as England coach, the priority for the mid-season International has always been the quality of opposition.
“After the postponement of the Ashes Series in 2020, this will be Shaun’s only chance to put an England team on the field until the autumn – and that’s why we have looked to the traditions of the Other Nationalities team so that England will be facing the cream of the players from every other nation represented in the Betfred Super League.
“We believe those players will relish the opportunity of playing representative rugby in this unique context, looking back to the great names who represented Other Nationalities in the past.
“And we hope the All Stars concept will help create real longevity for this fixture.”
An initial allocation of 4,000 tickets are now on sale for the double-header at Warrington with the hope that further areas of the stadium will become available as social distancing requirements ease.