England travel down to London to face Samoa at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium on Saturday in the semi-finals of the World Cup; the winners face Australia or New Zealand in the final at Old Trafford on November 19
Last Updated: 09/11/22 5:41pm
Shaun Wane has shrugged off any suggestions the way the Rugby League World Cup has been organised has been done to benefit England.
The host nation face Samoa in the semi-finals at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday and the winner tackles either reigning champions Australia or world No 1-ranked New Zealand, who face off at Elland Road the night before, in the final at Old Trafford on November 19.
However, there have been rumblings from other nations competing about difficulties in changing hotels mid-tournament and having to play on short turnarounds, with England being perceived by some to have had an easier ride with a week in between each of their matches.
England head coach Wane was surprised to hear of such complaints though is adamant his team have received no preferential treatment compared to any of the other 16 teams taking part.
“I’ve never, ever heard that before and I never thought I would hear that, to be honest, and I don’t see where that would come from,” Wane said. “That’s definitely not what I’m seeing.
“The Australians play on Friday and we play on Saturday, so they’ll have 24 hours on us [if England and Australia reach the final]. I think the World Cup has done a great job organising what they have done.
“We’ve had seven-day turnarounds and I don’t think any team can moan about changing hotels. We’re changing hotels this weekend and travelling down to London, but we look at that as exciting.
“We’re getting on a fantastic coach on Thursday, going down to London to a great hotel in our capital and we’re going to do a few things. We use it as a way of bringing us closer and we don’t look at it as a negative like some people do.”
Wane is delighted to be taking England to London for their semi-final clash with Samoa, who they beat 60-6 in the opening match of the tournament at another venue outside of rugby league’s heartlands in Newcastle.
More than 35,000 tickets had already been sold for the match at the home of Premier League football club Arsenal last month before the semi-final line-up was known and Wane is enthusiastic about the prospect of showcasing the sport to a new audience.
“I love our sport, I think rugby league is the best sport in the world and these athletes who play our sport, there are not many in the world who can do what they do, so I was as many eyes on our sport as possible,” Wane said.
“Taking it down to London, there’s a huge crowd this weekend at Arsenal and I’m really happy to take my team down there – and hopefully we’ll perform the best we can.”