England to face the Combined Nations All Stars in a mid-season international
It has been confirmed England will face the Combined Nations All Stars in a mid-season international match this June.
As part of the fixture, the opponents up against Shaun Wane’s side will play in a special jersey to raise funds to aid those affected by the tsunami in Tonga.
Carl Hall, the chair of the Pacific Islands Rugby League Group and team manager for the All Stars, is delighted with the idea, with the kit being created in partnership with the RFL, their technical kit suppliers OXEN, and Rugby League Cares.
He said: “This is a great gesture. Tonga has become such a force in Rugby League in recent years, with their incredible run to the semi-finals of the last World Cup in 2017.
“There have been so many great players of Tongan descent who have come over to play with English or French clubs.
“We’ve all seen the terrible and frightening scenes since the volcanic explosion, with some players anxiously awaiting news of their relatives.
“I know a lot of Rugby League clubs and supporters will want to find a way of showing their solidarity with the Tongan people over the coming days, weeks and months.
“It will be an honour and a privilege for us to do our bit when the Combined Nations All Stars come together to face England this summer.”
The All Stars team is drawn from Super League and Championship players who qualify for any other nation than England.
Last year, they beat England 26-24 at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium.
For that fixture, the All Stars wore a jersey which was designed in tribute to Mose Masoe, the former Hull KR and Samoa forward whose career was ended by a spinal injury in early 2020, with proceeds raising funds for his Foundation.
Lee Jenkinson, the CEO of Elite Pro Sports and OXEN, said: “We were honoured to work with Mose Masoe and his family and Foundation on the inaugural Combined Nations All Stars jersey in 2021, and delighted that thanks to the generosity of Rugby League supporters we helped in their fund-raising campaign.
“As soon as we saw the scenes of the tsunami in Tonga, and knowing how big Tonga is in Rugby League, we realised this would be a worthy successor to Mose in terms of a good cause for the All Stars to support in 2022.
“We’ll be making sure there is a strong Tongan presence in the jerseys, working with Carl Hall and the Pacific Islands Rugby League Group.
“Once again £10 from every sale will be donated to the best charity to ensure Rugby League fans can help the people who really need support in such a difficult time.”
Full details of the fixture, which will be played on a clear weekend in the Super League and Championship season on June 17-19, will be confirmed soon.
There will also be mid-season internationals for England Women and Wheelchair, as all three England teams prepare for the postponed Rugby League World Cup 2021 on home soil this autumn.
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