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Revealed: England set to confirm end-of-season opponents for historic Test Series

England

International Rugby League continues to fight for its place in the calendar, following the cancellation of the 2025 World Cup in France. With the tournament now moved to 2026, and expected to be held in Australia, Shaun Wane’s England side can now begin their preparations in earnest.

England will travel to France on the 29th June for a mid-season friendly, as part of the celebrations of the 90th anniversary of Rugby League in France. Following the success of last season’s post season internationals against Tonga, England had been set to host Samoa in a post-season series.

However, those plans were thrown into doubt, as Samoa were reportedly considering taking part in the 2024 Pacific Championships, rather than travelling to England to tour. However, thanks to a major breakthrough between the two parties, it seems that England’s end-of-season tour with Samoa will now go ahead as planned.

End of season opponents for England set to be confirmed

England

Credit: Imago Images

According to reports in Australia, an agreement has been reached for Samoa to play two matches against England at the end of the 2024 season. The West reveal that, despite significant doubts over whether the tour would take place, the games will now go ahead, in a major boost with the RFL.

Samoa took part in the 2023 Pacific Championships with Australia and New Zealand. However, their place in the competition will be taken by Tonga this year. The West reports:

“Samoa will embark on a two-Test end-of-year tour of England in the latest move towards a global rugby league calendar on the back of the rise of the Pacific.

“Officials on both sides of the globe are poised to announce rugby league’s end-of-season schedule, with the third edition of the Pacific Championships to also go ahead.” The report says.

“The most notable fixtures will be those involving Samoa, who will tour England for a bilateral series for the first time.

“Samoa are expected to play two Tests against the English in late October and early November, as part of a two-week tour of the northern hemisphere.”

In a historic move, it will be the first time Samoa have toured England for a bi-lateral series.

Wane hoping to avenge World Cup heartbreak

Credit: Imago Images

Confirmation of the series will give England the opportunity to avenge their heartbreaking 2021 Rugby League World Cup loss against Samoa.

Having thrashed Samoa 60-6 in the torunament’s curtain raiser, in the game where Dom Young announced his arrival on the international stage, England lost the semi-final between the two nations 27-26, thanks to an Stephen Crichton drop-goal. Samoa went on to lose the final against Australia at Old Trafford.

England were comfortable winners in all three games against Tonga last Autumn. The games were held at the Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens, the John Smiths Stadium in Huddersfield and Headingley Stadium in Leeds.

The series brought down the curtain on Elliot Whitehead’s international career, with the ever-reliable back-rower retiring after the third test. Mikey Lewis made his England debut in the series and made a bright start to his international career.

Shaun Wane will give the first clues as to who may be in the running to appear in the series against Samoa with his squad for the France game, which is expected to be announced in the coming days.

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