England boss Shaun Wane would play on Christmas Day to save planned Ashes series

England coach Shaun Wane says he would “play on Christmas Day in Australia” if it meant fulfilling the planned autumn Ashes series.

Wane – appointed to the role in February – has been encouraged by the NRL’s plans to return to action in late May and still finish their domestic season in October.

That could leave the door open to retain a first three-test series with the Kangaroos since 2003, which currently has matches scheduled at Bolton, Leeds and Tottenham for late October and November.

Wane said: “Ralph Rimmer and everyone at the RFL know my view – no matter what, I'm happy, so long as it goes ahead.

“Ralph and his team will do everything they can to make sure this gets on because the Aussies are keen to get over here and get it played, and I know how important it is to get them here. If it's a different date, make it fit, make it work.

“We adapt here all the time and we have to come together to make this work and put the game first and back it. I'll play Christmas Day in Australia, it doesn't matter to me.

“I am optimistic and very hopeful. I want to start coaching as soon as possible but obviously there's other more important issues than our sport.

“Once that's sorted, if we can get the Ashes on then fantastic. The way the Aussies are going about their business fills me with confidence that we can get them on.”

Wane also backed suggestions that the Ashes could be played alongside a domestic season still being finished if planned correctly.

He added: “The welfare of players, supporters and everyone needs to be taken into consideration, but if it can happen and it can work for all parties then fantastic, we will make it work.

“It doesn't matter to me, we deal with Easter periods over here so it's definitely doable, but I'm sure the priority will be the welfare of the players.”

Wane has publicly confirmed his backroom staff with appointments that were put in place before the lockdown occurred.

It sees St Helens Paul Wellens’ retain his assistant role in the England set-up, alongside Hull FC caretaker coach Andy Last.

It means that Great Britain assistants Ian Watson and Danny Ward will not feature in the new set-up, while Jamie Peacock has been succeeded as team manager by Colin Maskill.

RFL chief executive Rimmer said: “We paid tribute to Kevin Sinfield and the immense contribution he had made to the England Performance Unit when he stepped down in January, and it is right that we do likewise for Danny Ward, Ian Watson and Jamie Peacock for their efforts with Great Britain last autumn, and in Jamie’s case stretching back several years with England and Great Britain.

“They have all made a significant contribution, for which we are grateful.

“I know they were all proud to work with the national team, and I hope they feel the experience was beneficial as well as enjoyable.”

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