After a brilliant Rugby League World Cup where there were more potential winners of the trophy than ever before, the big question was: what happens next in international rugby league?
It was a big question for England mainly with many believing that Shaun Wane’s side needed strong consistent opponents to prepare for the 2025 World Cup in France.
However, as the CBA negotiations continued down under it stalled any agreement about who England would play at the end of this year in a series.
Australia were quickly ruled out, then New Zealand followed and in the end it came down to Tonga as well as the side who defeated England in last year’s World Cup semi-finals: Samoa.
We were led to believe that England were negotiating with Tonga over the series only for there to then a proposal to revive the Four Nations concept at the end of the NRL season.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, “a secret plan” was put together to see Australia take on Samoa in a World Cup Final rematch as well as New Zealand and Tonga in a four-week tournament at the end of 2023.
Apparently officials discussed the format and it has already been decided that it would be held in Australia and New Zealand.
There was a planned showpiece event where Samoa would take on Tonga, the Ferns would take on the Jillaroos and the Kiwis will take on the Kangaroos in a triple header.
However, those plans have been scuppered by the fact Tonga have agreed to play England in the series at the end of the year.
An announcement is expected today that will confirm the series between England and Tonga at the end of the year and end these plans which excluded England.
The games are set to take place at the John Smith’ Stadium, Headingley and the Totally Wicked Stadium.