England men set for mid-season Combined Nations All Stars clash; women and wheelchair teams to face Wales

England’s men and women will step up their preparations for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup with an international double-header on Friday, June 25, with both games live on Sky Sports.

The matches at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium will see the women face off against Wales at 6pm followed by the men tackling a Combined Nations All Stars team at 8.15pm.

The All Stars team is the revival of the concept which saw an Other Nationalities team face England in 1904 and was later brought back as the Exiles from 2011 to 2013.

But while the Exiles featured only Super League-based players from the Southern Hemisphere, the All Stars side is open to players from all nationalities other than England.

England’s wheelchair team will also be in action the following day, taking on Wales at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield as part of their World Cup preparations, and RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer is delighted to see the return of international rugby league.

“In such a significant year for rugby league as we prepare to host three World Cups in England, this is an announcement for the whole game to celebrate,” Rimmer said.

“To have the three England teams who will play in those World Cups in action over the space of 24 hours in June, and for the England Women and Wheelchair teams to receive unprecedented levels of broadcast exposure really sets the tone for what we want to achieve this year.”

In such a significant year for rugby league as we prepare to host three World Cups in England, this is an announcement for the whole game to celebrate.

RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer

An initial allocation of 4,000 tickets are now on sale for the double-header at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, with the hope further areas of the stadium will become available as social distancing requirements ease.

England’s men’s game against the All Stars will mark the first time Shaun Wane has taken charge of the team on a matchday since being appointed head coach 18 months ago, with last year’s scheduled Ashes series against Australia being cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Final interviews for the head coach and selector position for the Combined Nations All Stars were conducted on Monday, and an announcement will be made later this week along with further details of how the team will be selected.

“For Shaun Wane, who has had to wait so long for his first match as England coach, the priority for the Mid-Season International has always been the quality of opposition,” Rimmer said.

“After the postponement of the Ashes Series in 2020, this will be Shaun’s only chance to put an England team on the field until the autumn – and that’s why we have looked to the traditions of the Other Nationalities team, so that England will be facing the cream of the players from every other nation represented in the Betfred Super League.

“We believe those players will relish the opportunity of playing representative rugby in this unique context, looking back to the great names who represented Other Nationalities in the past – and we hope the All Stars concept will help create real longevity for this fixture.”

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