England boss Shaun Wane demands fixture certainty to grow Test rugby league

England boss Shaun Wane demands fixture certainty to grow Test rugby league

SHAUN Wane believes now is the time for rugby league to finally grasp the Test nettle and get long-term fixtures organised.

That way, more tickets can be sold and more money generated amid claims players facing France next week will receive just £250.

England boss Shaun Wane has called for more certainty of Test fixtures, believing they can drive money into rugby leagueSWPIX.COM

England’s two-Test series with Samoa was only announced last week, four months before they are played while the hosts of the 2026 World Cup are still not known, although it is believed to be Australia.

Now boss Wane has had enough – get organised sharpish.

He said: “Rugby union gets its fixtures in and sells out Twickenham.

“That’s the way we need to think about it – get our fixtures locked in, get some tickets sold and make it a great atmosphere.

“Not having any games at the end of the season never crossed my mind. I don’t think that way, until I’m told otherwise.

“I know the international game’s very important to people in the NRL. I do, honestly, know that and the international board’s trying its hardest to get some rock solid fixtures in there.

“I’d rather be positive about it and make sure that everybody’s on board trying to find a solution and make sure we can put some definite fixtures in.

“And two will be enough against a very physical Samoa team.

“The amount of phone calls I had saying, ‘It’s going to be announced’ or ‘I think we’re there.’ It was so time consuming, so long.

“But the RFL tried hard and the international board did a great job. At the end of the day, the games are on.”

England’s Test series against Samoa this autumn was only confirmed last weekSWPIX.COM

Wane admits he will look young for next week’s mid-season Test in France, which means Salford’s Marc Sneyd may miss out despite leading the current Man of Steel standings.

Wigan’s Junior Nsemba, Warrington’s Josh Thewlis and St Helens’ George Delaney may be in line for selection, while the likes of Harry Smith and Mikey Lewis – who starred against Tonga last year – are in contention.

But he believes the standard of talent coming through, added to the impact young Brits Morgan Smithies and Kai Pearce Paul are making in the NRL, offers hope.

Confirming Australia-based players will face Samoa while there will not be a warm-up game, he added: “It’s positive. Look at Super League and it’s exciting. There’s a lot of talent coming through, there’s no question about that.

Salford’s Marc Sneyd is likely to not make the France Test as Wane looks towards the next World CupSWPIX.COM

“But we can never stop having that attitude of, ‘We need to make it better. We need to get more players playing at a high standard.’

“Junior’s come through but he’s got loads of improvement in him. Josh is another one. At the minute, we’ve some great players coming through.

“Marc’s a great player and is a name that will be discussed but I’m looking at the next World Cup and I’m leaning towards younger players, especially for this France Test.

“For Samoa, though, that’s a completely different ball game.”

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