Why are Super League matches being played at the same time as England v All Stars?

VENUE and broadcasting issues are believed to have resulted in England sharing the same night as a Super League match.

Shaun Wane’s side takes on the Combined Nations All Stars on Friday as a domestic fixture also takes place – it would have been three but for the postponement of Hull KR v St Helens and moving of Salford v Leeds to Sunday.

 Wigan's Jackson Hastings is co-captain of the Combined Nations All Stars, along with Leeds' Matt Prior2

Wigan’s Jackson Hastings is co-captain of the Combined Nations All Stars, along with Leeds’ Matt PriorCredit: SWPIX.COM

That has led to fans describing the mid-season international as ‘pointless’ and ‘meaningless.’

But SunSport has learned just how the clash happened – and securing Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium and Sky’s scheduling are believed to be to blame.

It is understood the game was originally set to take place on Saturday, so clubs – who had to put games in this week because of the late start to 2021 after Covid-19 forced a late finish in 2020 – put theirs down for Thursday and Friday.

However, it soon emerged the ground could not be secured and a gap in the schedule could not be found to screen it, so it had to be Friday.

And the club games could not be switched to the weekend as there is another round of games next Wednesday and Thursday.

 Venue availability surrounding Warrington's Halliwell Jones Stadium and scheduling issues forced the match to move to Friday2

Venue availability surrounding Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium and scheduling issues forced the match to move to Friday

SunSport also understands England have been told if they want a free weekend next year, when things should be more normal, for a mid-season game, one will be drawn into the fixture list.

In fact, if one could have been accommodated this year, it would have been.

Hull FC coach Brett Hodgson slammed the fact there are club games as well as the international while Huddersfield’s Ian Watson hit out at the selection process and pressure it puts on already thin squads.

But Wigan boss Adrian Lam believes it is vital that England play, even though he warned he may have to pull one or two out of All Stars selection as he has nine out either injured, suspended or in the international squads.

He said: “The club is a big supporter of moments like this. In regards to developing and growing the sport in the UK at international level, playing a game like this is the right thing to do.”

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