Hull KR's Willie Peters issues player withdrawal warning after 'embarrassing' England test

Willie Peters has urged the sport to properly buy into the international game or warned coaches may consider preventing their players from playing. The Hull KR boss has joined others in criticising the mid-season international with France, which was played in front of a small attendance in Toulouse.

The Rovers head coach is a strong advocate of the international game and actively endorsed selection for a number of his players. Elliot Minchella and Mikey Lewis both featured in the game while Jez Litten was a part of the extended squad.

But the sight of a half-empty stadium for a game that wasn't shown on television has been widely criticised across the game, with other coaches also expressing their disappointment. Peters joined them, expressing his disappointment at the build-up surrounding the occasion.

"I've heard some comments about it being embarrassing and to be honest, I totally agree," Peters said. "As a coach, I want my players to play international rugby and would never hold a player back from playing for their country. For so many different reasons, but most of all because it should be the highest honour.

"From seeing the build-up, and I'm not talking about internally in the England or France camps, to it not being on TV and the crowd, someone used the word 'embarrassing' and it was an embarrassment to the level that it should be at.

"I would never want to not let my players play for their country, but certainly some coaches now will be looking and going: 'Why would we let our players go there with the injury risk if people aren't going to fully buy into what it's all about?

"For me, that game should have been shown on TV. Why wouldn't we want to show an international game to a new audience or an audience that loves the game already? I was asking people how to find the game and trying to get the link to watch it, which is crazy. It's an international game and needs to be treated that way.

"There were some good players on that field for both teams, world-class players. It's crazy to think that we wouldn't want to get that product out to a wider audience. It's disappointing."

Minchella, who made his international debut in the match, admitted that the spectacle surrounding the game was a poor look for the international game.

"There's no doubt that it probably should have been better, let's be honest," said Minchella. "A poor attendance and the lack of TV coverage isn't the best message to send about where the international game is at. It was a bit of a shame.

"But as a player and a debutant, I was just focused on representing my country and club. I'll let the people above me worry about that and not get above my station. I was just happy to be there."

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