Venues and dates of mid-season matches confirmed as England men's women's and wheelchair teams step up World Cup preparations

The England men’s and women’s sides will step up preparations for this year’s World Cup with a double-header at Warrington in June - and the English Institute of Sport, in Sheffield, is to host the wheelchair team the same weekend.

World Cup ambassador James Simpson - of the England Wheelchair team - pictured with the trophy. Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com.

England’s women will face Wales (6pm) in a curtain-raiser to the men’s clash with Combined Nations All Stars (8.15pm) at HJ Stadium on Friday, June 25.

Both matches will be televised by Sky Sports.

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England’s wheelchair team are due to take on Wales in Sheffield the following day, with live coverage on the BBC’s digital platforms.

Betfred Super League round 11 will be staged over the same weekend.

The Combined Nations All Stars is a new name for the Other Nationalities side which first faced England in April, 1904.

The concept was revived as Exiles in four fixtures from 2011-13, but whereas that team was selected from imports from the southern hemisphere, the Combined Nations All Stars will draw on the traditions of the Other Nationalities, with players from all nations other than England available – including the other Home Nations, France and Jamaica.

RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer said: “In such a significant year for rugby league, as we prepare to host three World Cups in England, this is an announcement for the whole game to celebrate.

“To have the three England teams who will play in those World Cups in action over the space of 24 hours in June - and for the England Women and Wheelchair teams to receive unprecedented levels of broadcast exposure through Sky and the BBC - really sets the tone for what we want to achieve this year.

“It’s the best chance yet for rugby league supporters to get behind those teams, as I know they will do in the World Cup.”

Shaun Wane will be in charge of England’s men for the first time since being appointed coach almost 18 months ago.

Rimmer added: “For Shaun Wane, who has had to wait so long for his first match as England coach, the priority for the mid-season International has always been the quality of opposition.

“After the postponement of the Ashes Series in 2020, this will be Shaun’s only chance to put an England team on the field until the autumn and that’s why we have looked to the traditions of the Other Nationalities team, so England will be facing the cream of the players from every other nation represented in the Betfred Super League.

“We believe those players will relish the opportunity of playing representative rugby in this unique context, looking back to the great names who represented Other Nationalities in the past.

“We hope the All Stars concept will help create real longevity for this fixture.”

The All Stars’ coach will be named later this week, following final interviews yesterday (Monday).

An initial allocation of 4,000 tickets for the double-header and limited allocation to the wheelchair showdown are now on sale.