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Why on earth are England playing Samoa in Sydney mid-season? | Aaron Bower

Failure in the Four Nations plus the coach Wayne Bennett’s team selection have not gone down well with fans

England internationals are often preceded by controversy and conjecture but as the national side prepare for their first mid-season game in the southern hemisphere since 2002, excitement levels in what is a World Cup year are alarmingly low.

England do not play mid-season often and that in itself is symptomatic of the state of the international game. But the head coach, Wayne Bennett, had insisted that if England were to take the World Cup seriously this year, a mid-season match against proper opposition was a must.

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