Shaun Wane will "play the Aussies on Christmas Day if needed"

Shaun Wane is optimistic the Ashes series will go ahead as planned - but says he would be happy to play on Christmas Day if needed!
England coach Shaun WaneEngland coach Shaun Wane
England coach Shaun Wane

The NRL are working towards a return to action in May with a shortened campaign that may be finished in time for the Kangaroos to tour for three Tests on successive weekends, starting on October 31.

But Wane would settle on it being delayed if it gave him the chance to take part of England later this year.

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"We have to come together to make this work and put the game first and back it. I'll play Christmas Day in Australia, it doesn't matter to me," said the former Wigan coach.

"If it's a different date we'll make it fit.

"We're tough, we adapt here all the time and this is another one.

"I know Ralph (Rimmer, RFL chief executive) and his team will do everything they can to make sure this gets on because the Aussies are keen to get over here and play this as well, and I know how important it is to get them over here.

"I am optimistic and very very hopeful. I want to start coaching as soon as possible but obviously there's other more important issues than our sport. Once that's sorted, if we can get the Ashes on then fantastic. The way the Aussies are going about their business fills me with confidence that we can get them on. Until I'm told otherwise, as far as I'm concerned it's on."

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Asked whether he thinks Australian officials are as keen for the Ashes to go ahead, he said: "Absolutely, 100 per cent. That's definitely the case.

"They're as keen on the international game as I am, and we know how important it is to get this on."

There has even been suggestions the Ashes may take place while the Super League season is going ahead - with clubs losing their star players to the national team for the games at Bolton, Leeds and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

"No matter what, the RFL will do the responsible thing," he said. "The welfare of players, supporters and everyone needs to be taken into consideration but if it can happen and it can work for all parties then fantastic, we will make it work. It doesn't matter to me."

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In the meantime, Wane is trying to make the most of the lockdown to put his fingerprints on the England set-up.

Earlier this week, he held an online seminar with the RFL's coaches and he has tasked roles to Knights coaches Paul Sculthorpe and Paul Anderson, as well as his two assistants, Saints legend Paul Wellens and Hull FC's interim boss Andy Last, whose appointments have been confirmed.

"I want us to think outside the box and how we can get a jump on every nation playing rugby league," said Wane. "The idea of the webinar yesterday was making sure everyone involved in the RFL is up to date and they know what I'm thinking and what my philosophies are. "I don't see this as time at home; I'm reading lots of books and getting in touch with NRL coaches to have a chat generally, to see what I can learn.

"These are still working days, I want to make us as a nation get a jump on everyone else and make us better. I've been given permission to speak to the players and they will understand what we're all about. I couldn't do the meeting at Old Trafford but I still want to have a personal chat with the players to let them know what I'm about, which is important."

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Wane was appointed England coach earlier this year after ending an 18-month part-time role with Scotland RU. He was previously head coach of his hometown club Wigan for seven years and, before that, served as an assistant and academy coach.

He said he had "no hesitation" in joining the rest of the RFL executives in taking a paycut when the coronavirus pandemic struck and has used their social media channels to promote the 'stay home' message. He knows the importance of the lockdown - his elderly father-in-law lives with him and wife Lorraine at their Standish home.

"What this has taught me is that I will never ever retire, that's for sure," he said. "How people do that I will never know.

"Being stuck at home and doing jobs around the house is not for me. I can't wire a plug, so my wife is doing all the painting and things like that.

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"I've got a shed at the bottom of my garden I'm tidying, and I'm sick of washing the car but that's about it. I'm a terrible husband!

"I live with my father-in-law, he's 84 and has got underlying health conditions so he's staying at home. We're trying to do the right things for him.bout him."

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