International Rugby League: 2026 Tournament Preparation and Samoa Tour Update

International Rugby League Continues Battle for Calendar Spot Amid World Cup Upheaval

As the international rugby league scene navigates the cancellation and rescheduling of the 2025 World Cup, Shaun Wane’s England side can now focus on their preparations for the 2026 tournament, which is expected to be held in Australia.

England’s Mid-Season Friendly and End-of-Season Series

On June 29th, England will travel to France for a mid-season friendly, coinciding with the 90th anniversary celebrations of rugby league in the country. This match will provide valuable experience for the team ahead of their anticipated end-of-season series against Samoa.

Initially, there were doubts surrounding England’s plan to host Samoa, as the Samoans were considering participating in the 2024 Pacific Championships instead. However, a significant breakthrough between the two parties has now ensured the end-of-season tour will proceed as scheduled.

Samoa’s Tour of England

According to reports from Australia, Samoa will embark on a two-test tour of England in late October and early November, marking the first time the two nations have faced each other in a bilateral series. This will give Shaun Wane’s side the opportunity to avenge their heartbreaking semi-final defeat to Samoa in the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

England’s Recent Success and Upcoming Squad Announcement

England were comfortable winners in their three-match series against Tonga last autumn, which brought the curtain down on Elliot Whitehead’s international career. Mikey Lewis also made his England debut during the Tonga series and impressed with his performances.

Wane will unveil his squad for the upcoming match against France in the coming days, which will provide the first indication of the players he is considering for the Samoa tour. The international rugby league calendar continues to evolve, and this latest development is a significant step forward for the sport’s global aspirations.

🔗 Source