England head coach Shaun Wane says Saturday’s clash with the Combined Nations All Stars represents the start of the World Cup for his side (England 2/5, All Stars 23/10, Tie 18/1 – Match Betting).

The delayed World Cup is being held in England over the autumn, but with a packed Betfred Super League schedule to come between now and then, Saturday’s match at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium represents one of the last times Wane can run the rule over his squad ahead of the tournament.

The former Wigan Warriors boss has named four debutants in his 17-man squad for the contest, with St Helens trio Jack Welsby, Joe Batchelor and Matty Lees, as well as Huddersfield Giants centre Jake Wardle all being rewarded for impressive seasons with their clubs.

Warrington Wolves scrum-half George Williams has also been included despite his indifferent form, but Wane is confident he has picked the right squad, as he steps up the team’s preparations for World Cup 2021 (England 7/1 – Tournament Outright).

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“I’ve picked a group of players who in my heart I know can do the job,” Wane told reporters. “There’s a good spirit in camp. This is the start of the World Cup as far as I’m concerned.”

Wane has been in charge of England for over two years, but this will be just his third match at the helm.

The 57-year-old was defeated in his first contest by the Combined Nations All Stars 12 months ago before registering a 30-10 win over France in their most recent fixture last October.

The All Stars squad will be led by coach Ellery Hanley and includes players from eight different Betfred Super League clubs.

Hanley, himself a former England international, is taking charge of the All Stars for the first time, but he is confident his side can repeat last year’s 26-24 victory in the fixture.

“I have the utmost trust in this group of players to go out there, give England a real game and get the win we’re all craving,” Hanley said, as per the BBC.

“The players who took part in last year’s fixture have experienced that feeling of beating England and want to do it again.

“That desire has certainly been passed on to the new members of the squad.”

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