England head coach Shaun Wane has revealed he is confident this year’s Ashes series with Australia can still be staged – and stressed that he would play ‘on Christmas Day in Australia’ if needs be, so long as it gets the go-ahead.
Wane has also not ruled out the prospect of England squaring off with Australia alongside the current Super League season, should the domestic campaign be extended to such a point where it crosses over with the scheduled dates for the series this autumn.
But when asked on Wednesday whether he thought it would remain in the calendar, Wane sounded optimistic at the prospect of taking on the world’s best side.
“I’m optimistic and very hopeful,” he said. “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.”
When asked if the Australians shared his appetite for the series being staged, Wane said: “Absolutely, 100%. 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.”
Wane also admitted that while the final decision rests with the RFL, he’s open to moving the series dates if required to ensure the Tests are played as planned – even admitting he was open with the international games taking place during the final stages of the league season.
He said: “No matter what, the RFL will do the responsible thing. 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, we deal with Easter periods over here so it’s definitely doable, but I’m sure the priority will be the welfare of the players.
“Ralph Rimmer and his team will do everything they can to make sure this gets on because the Aussies are keen to get over here and get it played, and I know how important it is to get them here. If it’s a different date.. make it fit, make it work. We adapt here all the time and 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.”
Wane also revealed he has taken a pay cut as the sport cuts its cloth accordingly with no live action to generate income due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“There was no hesitation for me doing that.. it was easy. I had no conversation with my wife about it, I just wanted to do my bit for everyone else in this country. What this has taught me is that I will never retire; it’s not for me. How people do that I will never know! Being stuck at home and doing jobs around the house is certainly not for me.”