Today Shaun Wane announced the team he’ll field against France on Saturday as he continues preparations for next year’s World Cup. His selection surprised some as did he chose of captain in Sam Tomkins’ absence. It’s an exciting yet different looking side who should make some positive strides forward in Saturday’s game. That’s my take anyway, but what was yours? How did social media react to England’s team?
One of the most interesting selections came at centre. Zak Hardaker, who is arguably most comfortable at fullback, joins Wakefield’s Reece Lyne at centre with Harry Newman left out. Some questioned why Hardaker was selected in a role that isn’t his best as fans voiced their frustration at the team even suggesting that they’d subsequently like to see France win.
Hardaker at centre is laughable. Great player but never a international centre in a million years. Play him at FB or nowhere IMO.
— Steven Hodgson 💙💛 (@86Hodgson) October 20, 2021
— Wireknox (@wireknox) October 20, 2021
Many were disappointed by the absence of Newman. The youngster finished the season strongly at Leeds and some believed this was the perfect opportunity for him.
A bit disappointed to see Harry Newman left out of the matchday squad – felt like the ideal time to give him a shot.
— Jack Conlon (@Conlon98Jack) October 20, 2021
That’s a decent side. I’d be putting Harry Newman straight in at centre though. Exciting to see how Jordan Abdull goes in the halves he’s unplayable when he’s on https://t.co/ADEfPrUM30
— Stephen Owen (@StephenOwen1895) October 20, 2021
One person however suggested that leaving Newman out in favour of Lyne was the right call.
Leeds fans in the comments thinking Newman should start over Reece Lyne shows exactly how much they know about Rugby League 🤦♂️ https://t.co/R5L81m9qLu
— Joe (@JL1894) October 20, 2021
Meanwhile, there was plenty of happiness about Jordan Abdull’s inclusion in the halves after a brilliant season with Hull KR.
A long time coming!🙌🏴 pic.twitter.com/qa9Jy4pGRY
— Hull KR (@hullkrofficial) October 20, 2021
There was also excitement about the decision to name Niall Evalds at fullback.
Also chuffed to bits to see Niall Evalds lining up in the no1 jersey for England. https://t.co/U1GdG05m6X
— Tom Bramwell (@tbramwellRL) October 20, 2021
However, many were frustrated by the fact John Bateman was given the captain’s armband. Some even suggested he shouldn’t be playing.
Shouldn't be playing, never mind skipper
— Mark Kavanagh (@MarkKav15119614) October 20, 2021
Ridiculous really. Cannot justify his selection never mind him being captain.
— Saddened! (@rlfansSaddened) October 20, 2021
One fan even suggested the decision was a biased one.
Agree James, not sure how Newman misses out to the centres selected personally. Also baffling Bateman being rewarded not only with selection but the captaincy just stinks of bias to me. No real qualms with the rest of the team. Some well deserved selections.
— Bradley Asquith (@BradAsquith7) October 20, 2021
That said, some believed that it made perfect sense. After all Bateman is the most experienced player in the squad and is indeed a world class player.
Most capped player in the side, knows what Wane wants and expects, poor year but world class player. Makes sense surely..? https://t.co/nGihuOzxBb
— Super League Pod (@SuperLeaguePod) October 20, 2021