World Club Series: Wigan's Shaun Wane says Super League 'deserves pat on back'

Shaun Wane
Shaun Wane has won the World Club Challenge as a player and coach with Wigan

Wigan head coach Shaun Wane revelled in an excellent weekend for Super League after the Warriors beat Cronulla 22-6 to win the World Club Challenge.

Wigan followed up Warrington's win over Brisbane to secure a first World Club Series victory for the northern hemisphere over Australia's NRL.

Wane told BBC Radio 5 live sports extra: "One thing we're good at in this country is looking for negatives.

"Let's be positive. Let's give Super League a pat on the back."

National Rugby League clubs had won all six matches since the expanded World Club Series came into effect in 2015.

Wane, whose side became the first from England to be crowned world champions since Leeds in 2012, added: "Tony Smith did a great job with Warrington and we won fair and square.

"It's a fantastic feeling and I'm so pleased. The staff work hard but the players do their business out on the park.

"We did too much defending. I'm trying to stay positive and not think about how we played. I'm just glad to get the win."

Wigan had lost to Brisbane in each of the past two seasons and lost their last World Club Challenge fixture to Sydney Roosters in Australia in 2014.

But a hat-trick of tries from Joe Burgess against NRL champions Cronulla helped to add the 2017 title to those won by the Cherry and Whites in 1987, 1991 and 1994.

Sean O'Loughlin lifts the World Club Challenge trophy
Wigan won the World Club Challenge for the first time since 1994 on Sunday

'We want to develop the concept'

Warrington made their second appearance in the World Club Series, having lost to St George Illawarra in 2015, and ended an eight-match losing streak for Super League clubs against their NRL counterparts with their win over the Broncos on Saturday.

"We realise it's big," said Wolves coach Smith. "We knew that we were responsible for some of the credibility over here. They've shown that this is a good part of the world to play rugby league and we can play some pretty decent stuff.

"We want Super League to get stronger, but we also want to develop this concept as well. It would be great to go over and play the Broncos at their place.

"We're grateful they've come over here and given us the opportunity, and given our supporters the chance to see an iconic club play rugby league, and at the same time promote our sport worldwide."

Warrington Wolves
Warrington Wolves beat Brisbane Broncos, who are coached by England boss Wayne Bennett, on Saturday

World Club Series discussions ongoing

Many observers had concerns about the long-term future of the World Club Series because of the NRL's dominance in its first two years, but the Rugby Football League say discussions are ongoing about the make-up of the 2018 competition.

A change of location and a return to the previous format of one match between the two competitions' respective champions have been suggested as alternatives.

RFL chief executive Nigel Wood said: "These two games have shown that the annual series between NRL and Super League clubs can be competitive.

"We are already in detailed discussion with our colleagues from the NRL about the format and potential locations for the 2018 World Club Series, and these discussions will advance over the coming weeks as we review the 2017 series.

"What is clear is that competitive international club rugby can showcase the very best in our sport to the world."

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