So it’s England versus the Combined Nations All Stars at Warrington on Friday, June 25.
I mentioned a while ago that my solution to creating a meaningful mid-season international to help Shaun Wane prepare for the World Cup would be a sort of Probables v Possibles fixture.
I’d have Shaun coaching the Probables and an experienced Super League coach, like Daryl Powell for example, in charge of the Possibles.
It would maximise the number of potential England players Shaun could see close up, and with selection of the World Cup squad looming, there would be a huge incentive for everyone on the pitch to perform.
Instead we have the Combined Nations – of course the RFL couldn’t resist a gimmick and had to add All Stars to the title – in theory, a team of the best non-England players in Super League to be coached by Tim Sheens (pictured).
I say in theory, because we have already had Adam Pearson hinting he won’t allow Hull players to join the Combined Nations if selected.
I hope that view doesn’t become the norm among clubs and that Sheens is able to put together the strongest side he can, because that’s what is required for this fixture.
The need for a mid-season England match has been heightened because the pandemic put the brakes on planned internationals, and the Super League clubs knew that the June date had been earmarked, yet still went ahead and fixed up a round of fixtures.
As ever, they are acting out of self-interest, and they just don’t seem to be seeing the bigger picture.
If handled correctly in terms of using it as a platform for growth, a successful World Cup here in this country could do wonders for the domestic game.
England winning the tournament on home soil could provide a huge impetus, yet some clubs are making that goal harder to achieve.
There’s an old saying that when it comes to sport, the fans should be talking about players in strips, not officials in suits, and recently, both Adam Pearson and Ian Lenagan, with his disrespectful pop at Gary Hetherington, have proved that point.
Wigan’s owner claims Super League is better run than ever before, which he would, given his club’s role in the breakaway from the RFL.
He’s entitled to his opinion, but so are others, and rather than have a go at Gary, who is a very successful administrator and has always had the good of the game, rather than just Leeds, at heart, he should worry about his own club.
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