Wayne Bennett, the England head coach, has admitted he was at fault for England’s cancelled training camp to Dubai, citing a lack of communication as the reason behind its failure.
The proposed two-week trip to Dubai was farcically abandoned just weeks before the squad was set to jet out due to the RFL claiming it ‘would not deliver what was originally expected’.
Bennett had previously stated that the trip had the support of Super League coaches, however, St Helens coach Keiron Cunningham, Hull FC chief Lee Radford and Castleford Tigers boss Daryl Powell publically criticised the idea.
Speaking at a media briefing, Bennett admitted that it was his responsibility for the lack of communication between himself and the clubs.
“When the Dubai thing didn’t work for us, maybe clubs didn’t realise how much players give and they do need to support us because they do give a lot to their country,” he said.
“I know they were disappointed; they wanted to do the camp and I just don’t want to let them down. They’re such a good group of blokes and they need all the support they can get – so me making a poor decision isn’t going to help them.
“It’s my fault; I should have communicated better and I take responsibility for that. But the staff here are working extremely hard with the clubs and I had a meeting with the coaches last night so we’re doing everything we can to improve communication.”
Bennett, who is in England ahead of Brisbane’s World Club Series clash with Warrington on Saturday, confirmed that no more than three players from each club will feature in the Test match against Samoa in May to limit the disruption of the international break.
“It’s always tough on clubs. I’m in a competition in Australia which has State of Origin in it which has a huge impact on all of us, particularly when multiple players can be selected from one club like at the Broncos. We will continue to proceed with the in-season stuff; we will do one day a week over a period of weeks throughout the course of the season. It won’t be every week, but it has the support of the clubs.
“There’s a compromise cooperation which exists between England Rugby League and the club and we’re all trying to make that work. There’ll be about a dozen who miss the following week’s fixtures in England because they’re playing in Australia, but the Samoa game is an important one to play, because we want more games. All the other countries are doing it in mid-season and we want to be the best team possible.
“We’ve got an undertaking that we won’t take more than three from one club because they’ve all got games the following weekend, but I’m happy with that. We’ll take or 12 or 13 from the UK but we wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t important. I’m confident that they’ll handle things over here, my staff – I’ve got the two Pauls, Sculthorpe and Anderson, who have worked with me in the Four Nations and they’re used to what I what I want. We’ve discussed all the programmes and Richard (Hunwicks) is right across the fitness side of it.”