England (7/1 Rugby League World Cup 2021) have started the countdown to this autumn’s World Cup with an 18-4 win over the Combined Nations All Stars with some players hoping to have played their way into contention.
It was a tough game against the invitational opponents at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium but coach Shaun Wane will have been pleased with some aspects of their display.
Three tries were scored with Huddersfield centre Jake Wardle crossing the line on his England debut early on.
George Williams and John Bateman added further scores for England with captain Sam Tomkins (pictured) converting all three tries.
Salford Red Devils winger Ken Sio crossed for the visitors but this was always a comfortable enough win for England, if unspectacular, although Wane suggested in his post-match interview that there is plenty of work to do going into the showpiece tournament later this year.
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“I honestly mean it when I say there are more than 10 spots still up for grabs,” he said.
“I like Sam and he did some good things, some ordinary, but he will be nailed on for the full-back. If his form dipped he would be out. The players would not expect anything else.”
Wardle has certainly played himself into contention with his try-scoring exploits and the 23-year-old did not look fazed at the prospect of making an international debut.
St Helens’ Jack Welsby is another young player who is progressing nicely and he did well playing in the halves alongside Williams.
In terms of the experienced campaigners, the likes of Tomkins and Saints winger Tommy Makinson did their chances no harm at all, while Bateman, a player who is very familiar to Wane having played under him at Wigan, was the standout player at loose forward.
However, if Wane’s comments are anything to go by, England could look markedly different to the side that featured on Saturday when they take on Samoa in their first group match of the World Cup.
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