It has been confirmed that England will again butt heads with a Combined Nations All Star team in 2022.
The fixture will be played on the weekend of 17-19th June in a spell dedicated to international rugby.
That weekend will also see the England women and wheelchair teams play mid-season internationals as they prepare for their World Cups at the end of the year with the country set to make history holding three World Cups at once.
Last year, in Shaun Wane’s first game as England boss, the Combined Nations showed their worth when they beat Wane’s side 26-24 meaning that this confirmed mid-season international could be useful preparation as England look to end a 50-year wait to claim the World Cup with Great Britain last winning it in 1972.
In their previous fixture, the All Stars wore a jersey which was designed in tribute to Mose Masoe, the former Hull KR and Samoa forward whose career was ended by a spinal injury in early 2020 – with proceeds raising funds for his Foundation.
Given the devastating impact of the recent volcanic eruption and tsunami on the Tonga archipelago, and the strong influence and popularity of players of Tongan descent in Rugby League generally and specifically in the Northern Hemisphere, the RFL have agreed with OXEN, Rugby League Cares and the recently-formed Pacific Islands Rugby League Group to dedicate the 2022 All Stars jersey to the people of Tonga.
Carl Hall, the long-serving Doncaster Chief Executive and former RFL Vice President who is Chair of the Pacific Islands Rugby League Group and will continue as team manager for the All Stars in 2022, said:
“This is a great gesture from the RFL, Rugby League Cares and OXEN Sports.
“Tonga has become such a force in Rugby League in recent years, with their incredible run to the semi finals of the last World Cup in 2017, and there have been so many great players of Tongan descent who have come over to play with English or French clubs.
“We’ve all seen the terrible and frightening scenes since the volcanic explosion, with some players anxiously awaiting news of their relatives. I know a lot of Rugby League clubs and supporters will want to find a way of showing their solidarity with the Tongan people over the coming days, weeks and months.
“It will be an honour and a privilege for us to do our bit when the Combined Nations All Stars come together to face England this summer.”