England Knights head coach Paul Anderson has promoted four exciting young talents from the Betfred Super League to a squad which will prepare for two international fixtures in the build-up to the Rugby League World Cup this autumn.
The Knights will face France B in Bordeaux on Saturday October 1, and then head to Edinburgh to play Scotland the following Saturday (October 8) at Myreside, the home of Watsonians RFC, as Nathan Graham’s Bravehearts conclude their preparations for the World Cup.
Ahead of a squad session in Bury last week, Anderson called up the Huddersfield Giants forwards Owen Trout and Oliver Wilson, the Wakefield Trinity wing Lewis Murphy, and Cameron Smith of Leeds Rhinos.
Trout, Wilson and Smith were all members of the England Academy team who earned a rare 2-0 series victory over the Australian Schoolboys in 2018.
Smith, 24, then made a single appearance for the Knights the following year in a 38-6 win against Jamaica at Headingley, and is on the brink of reaching a century of senior appearances for the Rhinos, having played junior rugby for the Castleford Panthers and Lock Lane community clubs.
Trout and Wilson have been regulars in the Huddersfield pack which has performed so impressively this season, and were both involved in the Betfred Challenge Cup Final at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in May – Wilson starting at prop in the defeat by Wigan Warriors, and Trout coming off the interchange bench.
Murphy, a 20-year-old wing who played for the Newsome Panthers and Underbank community clubs, has made a major impression since being handed his senior Wakefield Trinity debut early this season, taking his tally of tries to 14 from 18 appearances with a hat-trick in last Friday’s win at Hull FC.
Paul Anderson said: “It’s great news for the Knights programme that we have two international matches as a focus for 2022.
“Travelling to France and then Scotland in the space of a week will be exactly the sort of experience we want to give these players to prepare them for the different challenges of international rugby, especially with an eye on the 2025 World Cup in France.
“Like Shaun Wane and his England coaching staff, we monitor performances in all Super League games, and that has led to the four additions to our 2022 squad.
“Lewis Murphy, Cameron Smith, Owen Trout and Oliver Wilson have all established themselves as quality Super League players, and we are pleased to welcome them to our group.”
The Knights Performance Squad now comprises 30 players. Trout and Wilson join their Huddersfield team-mates Matt English and Will Pryce, while Smith’s inclusion also takes the Leeds contingent to four alongside Morgan Gannon, Tom Holroyd and Liam Tindall.
Murphy becomes the only Wakefield player in the squad, with Wigan Warriors the most represented club with eight.
Knights Performance Squad 2022:
Jake Trueman (Castleford)
Matt Whitley (Catalans)
Jack Broadbent (Featherstone)
Matty English (Huddersfield)
Will Pryce (Huddersfield)
Owen Trout (Huddersfield)
Oliver Wilson (Huddersfield)
Jack Brown (Hull FC)
Jordan Lane (Hull FC)
Mikey Lewis (Hull KR)
Jez Litten (Hull KR)
Morgan Gannon (Leeds)
Tom Holroyd (Leeds)
Cameron Smith (Leeds)
Liam Tindall (Leeds)
John Bennison (St Helens)
Jake Wingfield (St Helens)
Lewis Murphy (Wakefield)
Ellis Longstaff (Warrington)
Matty Nicholson (Warrington)
Josh Thewlis (Warrington)
Danny Walker (Warrington)
Connor Wrench (Warrington)
Ethan Havard (Wigan)
Sam Halsall (Wigan)
James McDonnell (Wigan)
Brad O’Neill (Wigan)
Oliver Partington (Wigan)
Harry Smith (Wigan)
Morgan Smithies (Wigan)
Knights Fixtures 2022
France B v England Knights – Saturday October 1, Bordeaux (Merignac) – 730pm local time
Scotland v England Knights – Saturday October 8, Edinburgh (Myreside) – 130pm