England head coach Shaun Wane takes plenty of positives despite defeat against Combined Nations All Stars

SHAUN Wane took plenty of positives from England's defeat to the Combined Nations All Stars on Friday night and insists his side are now better prepared for this autumn's Rugby League World Cup.

HEAD COACH: Shaun Wane. Picture: Paul Currie/SWpix.com
HEAD COACH: Shaun Wane. Picture: Paul Currie/SWpix.com

The Combined Nations emerged as narrow 26-24 victors in a hard-fought and tightly-contested affair in Warrington.

Wane handed debuts to six players while Joe Westerman returned to the England side after seven years out of the international game.

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The preparation was far from ideal for Wane, who, prior to this week only had one training session with his players while St Helens players Alex Walmsley and Jonny Lomax dropped out of this week's 19-man squad due to injury.

Despite the disruption and the defeat, Wane feels there was plenty to be pleased about.

"There are loads of positives, we played tough. I thought we could have played smarter, if we had played smarter we could have won the game," reflected Wane.

"They were the better team but we will learn a lot from that, no question. I want to win every single thing I am involved with but I told the players we will get a lot out of it.

"There were opportunities we had that we didn't take, the big games are in October and we will be better because of that game.

"We showed a lot of toughness. We never gave up and we were just a little dumb at times, that is all. To still be in there at the end was a great effort."

Meanwhile, Shaun Wane is certain Ash Handley will get more opportunities to make his mark on the international stage after his debut was marred by a head injury.

The Leeds Rhinos man came off the bench in the first half to earn his first cap but he was taken off before the interval and failed a head injury assessment, meaning he was unable to return to the field and he will miss Leeds' next two Super League games, against Salford Red Devils on Sunday and Leigh Centurions on Thursday night.

Wane confirmed no long-lasting effects of the injury, telling reporters after the game: "He is good. He got a head clash and had to come off for a HIA.

"I am gutted for him but I am sure he will get another chance some time soon."

Bradford-born forward John Bateman was also forced off in the first half as he limped from the field after injuring his ankle.

Wane added: "He has rolled his ankle, we will have more idea on the detail this morning. He is a tough guy so for him to come off is quite serious."

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