England Men Head Coach Shaun Wane has named a new-look 19-player squad for Saturday’s mid-season international against France at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium.
With only Ben Currie, Kai Pearce-Paul, Jack Welsby and captain George Williams having previously represented England in a Test Match, as many as 15 players could earn their first England caps.
Betfred Super League leaders Wigan Warriors have six players included in Wane’s squad and five of them – Ethan Havard, Toby King, Harry Smith, Morgan Smithies and Jake Wardle – could all receive their first caps. Wardle, a try-scorer for England in last season’s non-Test status international against the Combined Nations All Stars, has scored four tries in ten games this year for his new club.
Williams and Currie are joined by uncapped Warrington teammates Matty Ashton, James Harrison, Matty Nicholson, Josh Thewlis and Danny Walker. Four of the previously uncapped Wolves have impressed for the Knights in recent seasons whilst Harrison has been a standout at the Halliwell Jones Stadium since his 2022 move from Betfred Championship side Featherstone Rovers.
Also pushing for first international caps are Hull Kingston Rovers duo Jez Litten and Mikey Lewis, both of whom featured for Paul Anderson’s England Knights in wins against France and Scotland last year.
Ash Handley and Tom Holroyd are included from Leeds Rhinos, whilst Tyler Dupree’s impressive form with Salford Red Devils earns him a call-up. World Club Champions St Helens have a sole representative in the shape of full-back Jack Welsby, Super League’s Young Player of the Year for the past two seasons.
Of course by naming a 19-man squad it means 21 players from the original 40 have been left out.
14 of those players were reported as withdrawn by Yorkshire Live yesterday due to a myriad of reasons. Some are injured, some are just back from injury whilst Jordan Abdull has had to deal with repeated head knocks.
These are the 14 players who were said to have been withdrawn:
Will Pryce, Tommy Makinson, Harry Newman, Mark Percival, Jordan Abdull, Jonny Lomax, Lewis Dodd, Chris Hill, Matty Lees, Mikolaj Oledzki, Alex Walmsley, Oliver Wilson, Daryl Clark, Morgan Knowles.
Below is the full list of all 21 players not involved and the expected reason for their absence.
Jordan Abdull (Hull KR) – Reportedly withdrawn
Andy Ackers (Salford Red Devils) – Not picked
Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves) – Injured
Tom Davies (Catalans Dragons) – Not picked
Lewis Dodd (St Helens) – Reportedly withdrawn
Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors) – Not picked
Morgan Gannon (Leeds Rhinos) – Not picked
Chris Hill (Huddersfield Giants) – Reportedly withdrawn
Tom Johnstone (Catalans Dragons) – Not picked
Morgan Knowles (St Helens) – Suspended
Matty Lees (St Helens) – Reportedly withdrawn
Jonny Lomax (St Helens) – Reportedly withdrawn
Tommy Makinson (St Helens) – Injured
Liam Marshall (Wigan Warriors) – Not picked
Mike McMeeken (Catalans Dragons) – Not picked
Harry Newman (Leeds Rhinos) – Potential ankle injury
Mikolaj Oledzki (Leeds Rhinos) – Reportedly withdrawn
Mark Percival (St Helens) – Injured
Will Pryce (Huddersfield Giants) – Injured
Alex Walmsley (St Helens) – Injured
Oliver Wilson (Huddersfield Giants) – Reportedly withdrawn