Shaun Wane remains optimistic despite a day of training and the threat of postponement of England against Combined Nations Yorkshire News

Through no fault of his own, the passionate Wiganer has faced hurdle after hurdle since replacing Wayne Bennett in February 2020, including witnessing the cancellation of the ash testing series at home due to Covid and having only one solo training day with his squad.

Wane should hopefully take over a match when England take on a Combined Nations All Stars team at Warrington Wolves’ Halliwell Jones Stadium next Friday, but unsurprisingly there are still mountains to climb.

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The return of positive Covid testing at Super League clubs in the past fortnight has the sport on red alert once again, to the extent that Hull KR head coach Tony Smith, a former England boss, suggested Earlier this week the All Stars game will be postponed until the end of the campaign, closer to the start of the World Cup which begins for the hosts against Samoa in Newcastle on October 23.

The fact that there is a full round of Super League action next weekend doesn’t help either, all of which meant that Wane’s long-awaited team announcement was delayed 48 hours until yesterday morning.

On that subject, Wane – who has also seen a number of players discarded due to injury – said: “It is disappointing but I am the eternal optimist.

“In a perfect world it would have been a standalone accessory, but it is not and we have to find a way to overcome it and that is what we will do.

“We’ve had outages but, looking at the big picture, what the world is going through, it’s really nothing.

Shaun Wane conducts his only training session in 16 months at Leeds Beckett University in April (Image: Allan McKenzie /

“We have some injuries, but the team we brought out on Friday will be very, very strong.

“It will be much stronger when we have the NRL players, but it is up there and it will be a test match next week.”

Wane is confident that All Stars coach Tim Sheens, the former Hull KR boss who won the 2013 World Cup with Australia, will ensure that the Combined Nations have enough quality as opponents, although it will be interesting to see, when That team is announced tomorrow, how strong it is with Super League clubs eager to retain as many staff as possible.

Wane is understandably excited at the prospect of finally taking over England, even if he only has a couple of practice sessions next week to prepare. The only time he showed any irritation in yesterday’s press call was when an RFL representative explained why Zak Hardaker will not be able to play because his two-game penalty was served with Wigan’s game last night and his competition at Wakefield on next Thursday.

Awesome: Mikolov Oledzki of Leeds Rhinos (Image: Steve Riding)

“And their third game the day after …”, he chimed in.

Capless Leeds Rhinos duo Mikolaj Oledzki and Ash Handley, Castleford Tigers hooker Paul McShane, Wakefield Trinity duo Joe Westerman and Reece Lyne and Huddersfield Giants rookie Jake Wardle have been named.

Prop Oledzki, 22, has been rewarded for excellent club form, earning promotion to the England Knights team, and Rhinos captain Luke Gale is also included in the team, which will be reduced to 19 before the players go to camp next week.

Fit Gareth Widdop, the Warrington Wolves playmaker who was called up last week to Wane’s plans, misses the cut but is “close” in the coach’s eyes. Perhaps it is omitted because George Williams is included.

Waiting for his debut – Paul McShane from Castleford Tigers (Image:

The former Wigan Warriors running back was due to fly back to England from Australia yesterday following his compassionate release from the Canberra Raiders.

Williams, who is expected to join Warrington, has not played since May 22, but has been training on his own.

Wane said he hopes Man of Steel McShane will seize his opportunity when he makes his England debut at age 31.

Warrington center Toby King, St Helens loose forward Morgan Knowles, Giants center Wardle and Catalans Dragons winger Tom Davies are others hoping to bow with Oledzki and Handley.

England team: Bateman, Farrell, (both Wigan Warriors), Clark, Cooper, Currie, Ratchford, King, Philbin (all Warrington Wolves), Davies, Tomkins (both Catalan Dragons), Gale, Handley, Oledzki (all Leeds Rhino) , Knowles, Lomax, Walmsley, Makinson (all St Helens), Lyne, Westerman (both Wakefield Trinity), McShane (Castleford Tigers), McGillvary, Wardle (Huddersfield Giants), Sarginson (Salford Red Devils), Williams (free agent).

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This notice was published: 2021-06-19 10:20:31

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