England will face Tonga at the end of the domestic season in a first ever three Test series between the two nations and head coach Shaun Wane has expressed is excitement about the series during it’s launch event at St Helens’ Totally Wicked Stadium.
The Totally Wicked will host one of the three matches with the other two destined for the John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield and Headingley in Leeds.
Game one scheduled for the Totally Wicked on Sunday 22nd October, just under six weeks away and one week removed from the Super League Grand Final, will be the first time that England have played since their mid season international against France at the Halliwell Jones.
That game saw England run as easy victors and this clash with Tonga is expected to be a far sterner test, one that can replicate the World Cup knockout atmosphere from late 2022, and prepare Wane’s side for the 2026 World Cup.
He spoke 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.”
We did see Williams debut as captain against France but the introduction of former Warrington player and 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.