Shaun Wane: “I’m living the dream”


Speaking ahead of England’s huge Quarter-Final clash with Papua New Guinea on Saturday afternoon, Shaun Wane has spoken about life as England coach, the dream that came true and managing his country in his hometown this weekend.

After playing and then coaching his hometown club, Wigan Warriors, Shaun Wane probably thought things couldn’t get much better. However, when England came calling, it was an opportunity of dreams.

He was appointed in the national role back in February 2020 and at the time described it as an ‘honour to be appointed head coach of England at such an exciting and important time’.

Over two years on from succeeding Australian coach Wayne Bennett, Wane still feels the exact same heading into his sides crucial Quarter-Final.

Wane said: “This is special for me. I’m living the dream, I’ve coached my hometown club and then I got the call which I never thought would come, asking me to coach my country.

“To be in the World cup coaching in a ground in the town where I live is unbelievably exciting for me and I can’t wait.

“I’m loving every single day that I spend with these players in camp, and I don’t want it to end, I want it to carry on. It’s a message to anyone from Wigan or Lancashire or even Yorkshire that you can achieve anything. I’m a proud Englishman and I can’t wait for Saturday.”

His England side have overcome some tough opponents with ease so far this tournament, winning in style and Wane noted his sides performances whilst also recognising there’s a long way to go and the hard work doesn’t stop.

He added: “They (Papua New Guinea) hit harder. They’re really full on as a team and I have every respect for them. It’s unique, the way they play, as it’s very direct and it’s really challenging to get your point right in contact and it’s challenging because if you mis-time something you’re going to get bent into two.

“It’s a tough challenge and it’s very unique. It’ll be our toughest test. It’s sudden death. We have 80 minutes and we have to win and perform.”

With Papua New Guinea coming through the group too with a 100% record, they’ll be coming into the encounter full of confidence and not fazed by the English crowd which will be right behind the host nation.

But as for Wane, a win will see England reach the Semi-Final for the sixth World Cup running and would face the winner of the Quarter Final between Tonga and Samoa, should they progress.

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