Wane happy to take England to Rochdale to help spread the word

England head coach Shaun Wane has endorsed the decision to hold his side’s final World Cup warm-up game against Fiji in Rochdale.

Important: England head coach Shaun Wane. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com
Important: England head coach Shaun Wane. Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

The Lions will face Fiji at the Crown Oil Arena on October 15, eight days before their World Cup opener against Samoa at St James’ Park.

Rochdale Hornets, currently in rugby league’s third tier, will host the game as part of their 150th anniversary celebrations and Wane highlighted how key it was for the sport to reach as many people as possible.

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“It’s really important to be honest,” the former Wigan head coach said.

Stood down: Hull KR prop Korbin Sims. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

“I think back to the Wigan v St Helens (Grand Final) game last year when the ball was in play for 63 minutes. They went 25 minutes going at it. No penalties, no errors, ball in play.

“There is not another sport in the world that can get anywhere near that – ice hockey, NFL, Aussie Rules – and we need to tell everybody about that and go to as many grounds as possible and make sure everyone knows about our game.

“I think it’s the best game in the world. I am biased, but we have a duty to make sure we keep the rugby league family involved, but that as many non-rugby league fans as possible watch our game as well.”

Rochdale, who will make an initial 2,000 tickets available for spectators, have a rich history with Fiji, with the town hosting the second largest Fijian population in the UK outside London.

Orisi Dawai, Josefa Levula, Voate Drui and Liatia Ravouvou became the first Fijian players to appear in England when they joined Rochdale in the early 1960s.

Hull KR prop Korbin Sims will miss Friday’s Betfred Super League clash with Leeds under concussion protocols.

New signing Sims left the field after a blow to the head in last week’s 25-24 win over Huddersfield.

Centre Ben Crooks, who scored a Super League record try after just seven seconds against the Giants, is also doubtful with an ankle injury.

Coach Richard Agar has confirmed Leeds Rhinos will not appeal against star forward Zane Tetevano’s four-match ban after his sending-off against St Helens.

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