Wakefield Trinity v Wigan Warriors: Coach Chris Chester hits out over clash with England international

Wakefield coach Chris Chester: Wants stand-alone internationals.Wakefield coach Chris Chester: Wants stand-alone internationals.
Wakefield coach Chris Chester: Wants stand-alone internationals.
WAKEFIELD TRINITY coach Chris Chester has joined the chorus of voices calling for future international matches to be given their own stand-alone date in the calendar.

Four Wakefield players – England’s Rhyse Lyne and Joe Westerman plus Liam Kay and Kelepi Tanginoa with Combined Nations All Stars – will miss the visit of Wigan Warriors tonight as they prepare for tomorrow’s mid-season Test.

Chester has named a 20-man squad, one fewer than normal, but that includes Westerman and Kay who he said “definitely” are not available, as well as captain Jacob Miller, who is rated as “very, very doubtful” because of a foot injury suffered in last week’s defeat by Castleford Tigers.

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Wigan, already hit by injuries and suspensions, are without three players on international duty and have listed just 18 names for this evening.

Wakefield Trinity's Joe Westerman. Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.comWakefield Trinity's Joe Westerman. Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com
Wakefield Trinity's Joe Westerman. Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com

Super League’s decision to schedule a full round of fixtures for the same weekend as England’s first match since 2018 has caused problems for coaches at both club and representative level.

It took Tim Sheens, in charge of All Stars, until Tuesday to formulate a 19-man squad and Chester admitted: “You don’t want to stop players playing in these games, but the All Stars’ squad being named really late has obviously hampered us.

“Most clubs are in the same boat, but I think there’s an obvious solution where every team in Super League loses two or maybe three players, which makes it a bit fairer.

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“Some teams are losing five and some are losing four and others who are only going to lose one.”

With four players on international duty, Trinity could have requested a postponement, but that would have necessitated finding a new date later in the year, when the fixture schedule is already crowded.

Chester stressed: “We want (coach) Shaun Wane to do really well for England, but I think, reading between the lines, he is probably not getting the support that’s needed.”

He added: “I do think the way it has been organised has left a lot to be desired, but we just have to move on and get on with it.

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“It is hard at the minute and I think everyone would have preferred a stand-alone fixture. I know that’s what Shaun wanted, but it’s not to be. It just makes things really difficult.”

Despite the disruption, Chester is confident his team can get back to winning ways against a Wigan outfit still reeling from last week’s home loss to Hull KR.

“We have got a team out there this week that’s more than capable of getting a result against a young, hungry Wigan side,” he insisted.

“We have worked hard this week and we’re looking forward to seeing what this young team can do.

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“We have got nine home-grown players playing this week, which is fantastic for the club and looking at the Wigan squad, that’s pretty young as well.”

Forward Matty Ashurst has signed a new contract keeping him at Trinity until the end of 2023.

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