ENGLAND’S rugby league Test series with Samoa could be back on.
Rugby Football League chiefs fronted the International Rugby League board after the islanders seemingly backed out of a 2024 tour.
And the sport’s international body has told the World Cup finalists, who stunned England 27-26 in last year’s World Cup semi-final, to get back around a table and rethink their decision.
Boss Troy Grant got a commitment to at least restart talks from Rugby League Samoa Executive President Fiu Faaolatane Ponifasio Vasa after offering them the support needed to successfully and viably tour England next year.
Grant said: “Rugby League Samoa will work with the IRL and RFL to understand any hurdles needed to overcome in making the tour a successful reality and continue to build on the wonderful legacy they have recently achieved.”
Samoa wants to stay Down Under to play in the Pacific Championship, an event bankrolled by millions of dollars from the Australian Government.
That has thrown the plans for Shaun Wane’s side into chaos as they had indicated to both England and the IRL board they would travel, even though nothing was ever signed.
But SunSport understands they were told the preferred option is for them to tour, with forcing their hand by declining them a place in the Pacific Championship an option.
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RFL bosses are keen to give fans here ‘meaningful’ fixtures on these shores in 2024 as 2025 sees England head to Australia and New Zealand is heavy favourite to host the 2026 World Cup.
If Samoa do not change their mind, options include sending another side – Papua New Guinea the favourites – over here or England heading Down Under to play.
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Taking on home nations or France would not provide the level of competition required, although travelling over the Channel for June 29’s mid-season Test should make that trickier.
Source: The Sun
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