Three Uncapped Players in England squad

Wayne Bennett England contract

England head coach Wayne Bennett has named his 19-man squad to face New Zealand in Denver on June 23rd.

The squad includes the uncapped trio of Hull’s Jake Connor and St Helens’ Tommy Makinson and Luke Thompson, all of whom have shown great form so far in the Betfred Super League.

Both Connor and Thompson (above) were named in the England Knights squad in March, but have been promoted to the senior squad with the likes of Alex Walmsley and Kallum Watkins out injured. Makinson will also be hoping for his first international cap and is one of five Saints players selected for the trip.

St Helens have the largest contingent of players heading to Denver with five, while Wigan Warriors provide three in the shape of Sean O’Loughlin, John Bateman and George Williams.

There is also a recall for South Sydney Rabbitohs prop George Burgess (below), who joins up with brothers Sam and Thomas after missing out on the 2017 World Cup squad. The Burgess brothers are three of six NRL players included and will be joined James Graham, Elliott Whitehead and Gareth Widdop, who all played in England’s World Cup final loss to Australia last year.

George Burgess elbow

Commenting on the squad, England head coach Wayne Bennett said: “I have selected a strong squad that I believe has the ability and talent to beat New Zealand in Denver. The game is going to be a tough one but we will go into it with confidence.

“We have been impressed with all the players this season and the three uncapped players deserve their call ups after showing their talent and determination both on and off the field. We have always been clear that the door to the senior squad is open to any player showing the form to be selected. The squad has a real mix of experience and youth and that will prove important during our time in Denver.

“Playing a mid-season test against Samoa last year proved invaluable and I’m sure this will be the same. It gives the team a chance to spend time together and me and my coaching staff to see how they perform together against one of the best teams in the World ahead of the International Test Series in the Autumn.”

England v New Zealand will be played at the Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver on Saturday June 23 (Kick off: 21.10pm BST) and fans in the UK can watch live from 9pm on BBC Two.

Full squad:

John Bateman (Wigan Warriors, Bradford Dudley Hill)

George Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs, Dewsbury Moor)

Sam Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs, Dewsbury Moor)

Thomas Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs, Dewsbury Moor)

Jake Connor (Hull FC, Siddal)

James Graham (St George Illawarra Dragons, Blackbrook)

Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos, Oulton Raiders)

Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves, New Springs Lions)

Jonny Lomax (St Helens, Orrell St James)

Tommy Makinson (St Helens, Wigan St Judes)

Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants, Deighton Juniors)

Sean O’Loughlin (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)

Mark Percival (St Helens, Halton Farnworth Hornets)

Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves, Wigan St Patricks)

James Roby (St Helens, Blackbrook)

Luke Thompson (St Helens, Bold Miners)

Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra Dragons, Kings Cross)

George Williams (Wigan Warriors, St Patricks)

Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders, West Bowling)