Shaun Wane's disappointment Super League games take place on international weekend
Shaun Wane has welcomed plans to revive the Other Nationalities side for a mid-season international – but is disappointed Super League will play on the same weekend.
Wane’s England side will take on a Combined Nations All Stars side on Friday, June 25.
It had already been designated an international weekend and yet Super League arranged fixtures for the same weekend, and Hull FC boss Adam Peason has already suggested he may not release players for England’s opponents.
Asked about the fixture clash Wane said today: “I’m disappointed, it’s an international weekend and I wanted a stand-alone fixture so it didn’t put pressure on any Super League teams.
“But the clubs have been behind me as a whole and I’ll do what I can not to put teams under pressure, I said to the head coaches, if James Roby is killing the competition and he’s a dead set for the World Cup, I’ll look at another hooker. And that’s a relationship I have."
FC owner Pearson had warned he "cannot commit" to releasing players for what was thought to be an Exiles side, but will instead by the All Stars.
“I’m hoping clubs will understand the big picture and most understand a successful World Cup would be unbelievable for Super League," said Wane. "I don’t understand Adam, this has been known for 12 months. He’s known about it for 12 months. I’ve spoken to him, Brett (Hodgson, FC coach) numerous times, and nobody has said a word.”
There had been plans to revive the Exiles, a team drawn from Super League’s best overseas players.
But the introduction of the ‘Combined Nations All Stars’ instead opens up the selection to also include any non-England players such as, for example, Wales’ Regan Grace (St Helens) and Ben Flower (Leigh), France’s Morgan Escare (Salford) and Scotland’s Matty Russell (Leigh).
The Other Nationalities concept team dates back to 1903 and featured at various points up until 1975, with Welsh greats Billy Boston and Lewis Jones and Australians Brian Bevan and Harry Bath among those who have represented the team. England then played an Exiles side between 2011 and ‘13.
“The concept we’re bringing in goes back years and I get why we’re doing it,” said Wane. “As long as we’re playing a game which is like a Test match, I’m happy.”
England’s Women’s and Wheelchair sides also having fixtures that weekend ahead of autumn’s World Cup.
Meanwhile, Wane is days away from meeting his England squad in person for the first time.
He was appointed national coach more than a year ago but because of the pandemic, he has conducted all his conversations over the phone or online – and he has yet to have a training session with them.
That frustrating wait is nearly over. He is set to hold a meeting with them on April 6 ahead of a training session the following week.
Warriors players John Bateman, Oliver Gildart, Liam Farrell, Dom Manfredi and Zak Hardaker were included in the last provisional squad.
The RFL Board this month ruled players could now move from a professional environment to international environment, subject to lateral flow testing.
“I’m excited to get the players on the field and actually coaching,” said Wane, stressing the importance of standards on and off the field.
Meanwhile, the former Warriors coach – and proud Wiganer – was delighted to learn Latics had secured their future.
He added: “I’m really pleased, there are some really good people involved at the club and I’m so glad they’ve got their future secured and they can move forward.”