Shaun Wane issued a stern warning to his England team after winning their warm-up game for this year’s rearranged tournament.
This mid-season international was planned to give Wane’s England a solid workout in preparation for their opening match against Samoa in the World Cup, which will take place on October 15, 2022, at St. James’ Park in Newcastle.
The Combined Nations All-Stars team had the physically imposing overseas players that England will encounter in teams like Samoa during the World Cup.
Last year, England and the Combined Nations met in Wane’s first game in command, with his team losing 26-24 in a game that demonstrated the work Wane and his team needed to do to win the World Cup. This time, England will face the Combined Nations again.
This is the second time England had faced the Combined Nations after the two met in Wayne’s first game in charge last year when his side lost 26-24 in a game that showed Wayne and his team have to do the work if they want to win the World Cup.
This is an opportunity to show how far they’ve gone under Wane and how close they are to World Cup success.
Things to improve for England
In the warm-up match, debutant centre Jake Wardle scored first, and George Williams added a second try to make it 12-0 at the break, following an excellent break and pass from John Bateman, who added a third immediately after the interval.
Wane knows Bateman, who is playing at loose forward, and anyone from their title-winning days at Wigan Warriors. Despite Bateman’s man-of-the-match performance, Wane said the Yorkshireman was not guaranteed a spot in his World Cup squad.
He also questioned St Helens’ newcomer Jack Welsby’s debut performance — and suggested his dependable captain Sam Tomkins can improve as well.
“We did some really good things — and some things we need to get better — but it was more good than bad,” Wane said. “I thought George was good, but Jack can play better than he did, and I just want more from him.”
On Bateman, Wane said, “There were a couple of defensive errors early on in the game, and he got a message from me, and he fixed it pretty quick.”
“Overall, he looked good, but I honestly, genuinely think he can do a lot better.”
“I’d say three or four players, if they are playing well, are nailed on to play against Samoa, but I’m not sure John’s one of them.”
“The door is open, and I would say there are more than ten starting spots up for grabs,” Wane continued. “Sam did some good things and some ordinary things, and he would be nailed on for the full-back spot – but if his form dipped, he would be out.”
The All-Stars were led by rugby league star Ellery Hanley, who said England “deserved to win” but still had work to do in the lead-up to the World Cup.
“There are some areas England needs to work on and are vulnerable in,” Hanley said. “We had three or four chances where we could have posted tries, but you have to be aware of that and not paper over the cracks. Shaun has the players onside on what they have to do to win a World Cup.
“I think it will be a wonderful World Cup with all the sides in, but the obvious big three are Australia, New Zealand and England. They will compete for the trophy,” he added.