MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 19: John Bateman of England runs with the ball during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup Quarter Final match between England and Papua New Guinea Kumuls at AAMI Park on November 19, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

The Rugby League World Cup may have been delayed by 12 months, but England coach Shaun Wane is under no illusions as to the size of the task in getting his side ready to face Australia and New Zealand.

The World Cup, which was originally supposed to start yesterday, was delayed earlier this year by 12 months as safety and workload concerns drove the Australian Rugby League and New Zealand Rugby League to pull their teams out despite the major safety protocols put in place by the Rugby League International Federation and tournament organisers.

Regardless, the World Cup will go ahead in 2022, and England may be glad for the extra preparation time.

Shaun Wane had his first game in charge of the team overnight, taking over from ex-coach Wayne Bennett, who is currently without a representative job as he turns his attention towards setting up the Dolphins following coaching the South Sydney Rabbitohs to a grand final.

Instead of opening the World Cup overnight though, France were the opposition in a one-off end of year Test.

The English got off to a fast start, but that's where it stopped. From a 20-0 lead in virtually as many minutes, the game ended up 30 points to 10.

Wane acknowledged it was a tough preparation, while England also had a first-time captain in former Canberra Raider John Bateman, while all their NRL players such as Josh Hodgson and Elliott Whitehead were missing, but said the team must improve.

Englands Josh Hodgson makes a pass during their Rugby League World Cup quarter-final match between England and Papua New Guinea in Melbourne on November 19, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Mal Fairclough / IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE (Photo credit should read MAL FAIRCLOUGH/AFP/Getty Images)

"We will need to improve for games against New Zealand and Australia,” Wane told the BBC. ”I thought there were some good individual performances, but I will always look to try and improve us.

"The lads have done really well today considering it has been a tough day's travel and we have had three sessions on the field as a team."

England, despite hosting the World Cup, will go into the tournament as the likely third favourites behind Australia and New Zealand.