Fresh blow to England's 2024 plans as Samoa turn down series invite

England are on the lookout for new opponents in 2024 after Samoa turned down an invitation to play a three-match series next autumn.
England are without any opponents in 2024 as things standEngland are without any opponents in 2024 as things stand
England are without any opponents in 2024 as things stand

The World Cup finalists instead look set to compete in the southern hemisphere’s Pacific Shield again next year.

England Men and Women are set to tour Australia in a return of the Ashes in 2025, with Shaun Wane’s side having recently completed a 3-0 series whitewash over Tonga on home soil in St Helens, Huddersfield and Leeds respectively.

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With the next World Cup confirmed for 2026 following France’s withdrawal, the Rugby Football League say they are ‘determined’ to find new opponents and maintain the momentum for Wane’s squad in 2024.

RFL Chair and IRL board member, Simon Johnson, says: “Samoa’s decision is especially disappointing, coming just days after the conclusion of Tonga’s history-making visit to these shores this autumn, but we can’t afford to dwell on it. They have made their decision.

“We now owe it to Shaun Wane and the players, and to England supporters, to deliver meaningful international Rugby League in 2024, and we are working with RL Commercial and the IRL to make that happen.

“We’ll make further announcements as soon as there are any positive developments.”

Head coach Wane said he is hopeful of a mid-season international fixture again in 2024, with no plans yet confirmed.