England set for two amazing test series including Ashes

After the crowning of Wigan Warriors as Super League Champions, the focus of Leeds Rhinos, Warrington Wolves, Hull KR stars will focus on England duty.

England are set to take on Tonga this year before meeting Samoa next year in a rematch with the team who defeated them in the World Cup semi-final last year.

After this, England will go over to Australia in 2025 for an Ashes series.

This was confirmed by the International Rugby League body.

IRL Chair Troy Grant said: “It is no secret that the Achilles heel for international rugby league for far too long has been the absence of an International Calendar.

“The ad hoc nature of tournaments and international matches, and the absence of any clarity for nations, players and fans to plan their seasons, is over.

“The International Calendar respects player workloads and importantly also reduces the impact on professional clubs.

“The standards have improved dramatically in recent years regarding player welfare and player workload issues, and they were key considerations in the calendar design.

“After we secure the future of international rugby league, our calendar will help rejuvenate and allow the game to grow globally, recognising the elite in our game and providing pathways for development of the game across all levels.

“I saw first-hand during RLWC2021 in England last year how much it means for players in each of our three disciplines to be able to represent their country of birth or heritage, put on that jersey and play with such pride for their family and nations.

“I couldn’t be happier that we have finally arrived with our much-anticipated calendar. It’s been frustrating and I’ve shared the frustrations of fans, our nations, our clubs and the game broadly that we have failed to realise the potential the international game offers.

“Our calendar will allow us firstly to secure the future of international rugby league, with quality and consistent matches that are competitive, build on traditional rivalries and showcase the greatest game on earth.

“The Ashes return, with England Men’s and Women’s teams to tour Australia in 2025, while international tours are back, with Tonga heading to England in 2023 in an historic start to the new era.

“We have had some well-known legacy issues and world impacting events that have disrupted and destabilised our best efforts but its onwards and upwards from here.

“I want to sincerely thank the Chairs of the Australian Rugby League Commission, England’s Rugby Football League, the Asia-Pacific and European confederations, and the New Zealand Rugby League for their contributions and coming together for the good of the game to make our calendar a reality.”

This comes as Shaun Wane prepares for the Tonga series.

Wane has recently spoken on the changes from the World Cup, notably new captain George Williams and coaching addition Lee Briers, explaining to the Sportsman Youtube channel why Warrington’s playmaker was the obvious choice for the armband,

“Yeah, it was easy. George is a lad I’ve known since we were 14 and now he’s like late 20s now. So he’s a quality player, really works hard on his game.

“He’s a great captain, speaks really well, which he’s not always done. But the way he grips the team now is so admirable. I rate him so highly, he’s going to do a great job as captain.”

Williams though will miss the first two games against Tonga after a controversial ban.

Current Brisbane Broncos assistant Lee Briers is a new change for this series, something Wane believes will be of huge benefit.

“Yeah, he’ll bring a lot Lee,” Wane explained to the Sportsman Youtube Channel.

“I know him from when he coached at Wigan, I know him from when he played at Warrington and coached there as well, so he’s going to bring a lot, he’s got experience with the NRL and all the overseas players we’ve got going to play, so he’s going to bring a lot, no question about that, he’s a really, really smart coach.”

Briers will arrive in the country following his Broncos side run in the playoffs, potentially with centre Herbie Farnworth.

It is highly likely he will be back in the UK again to take on Tonga.