Shaun Wane: England coach expecting mid-season warm-up before 2021 World Cup

England v New Zealand
England have not played a Test since their home series with New Zealand towards the end of 2018

England will have a mid-season international warm-up Test in 2021 before the autumn's World Cup, says head coach Shaun Wane.

Australia's 2020 tour was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, depriving England of key preparations.

Although some players featured for Great Britain in 2019, this would be England's first fixture since the Test series with New Zealand in 2018.

"Hopefully [it will be] the middle of 2021," Wane told the Super League Show.

"It could be an Exiles game, a game against anybody, and that will give you a good indication of the teams I'm going to play in the first round of the World Cup."

Wane is yet to take charge of an England Test since succeeding Wayne Bennett earlier this year, but has been awarded an extended deal by the Rugby Football League.

Organising a mid-season Test in a campaign which will also be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and an extended 2020 season requires buy-in from the Super League clubs, as it puts extra workload on those players selected.

"I have to say the clubs have been outstanding," Wane added. "The CEOs, head coaches, the owners have been so supportive in making sure they understand how important it is we have a strong international game and that England do well in this next World Cup."

First chance to get players together

Without face-to-face contact, Wane has turned to technology to keep his links with players both in the northern hemisphere and those playing in the NRL.

While he says he will continue to use video conferencing, particularly for Australia-based players such as George Williams, Luke Thompson and Josh Hodgson, there is an anticipation and excitement at being able to finally bring players together in a training camp in the short-term future.

"Things are easing off now," the former Wigan coach added. "I'm going to get the players together on a couple of camps, they're not going to be very physical but they'll be very verbal.

"It'll be on what I want and what I expect and how we're going to play. I can't wait for that to happen.

"It's strange, This year has been a bit lost with unforeseen circumstances, hopefully we'll get into the World Cup year with a game and a few camps, and our preparation for the World Cup should be great."

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