Jamie Peacock throws down challenge to Jack Welsby and Morgan Knowles to ‘prove themselves on the international stage’

England have named their starting 17 for the World Cup opener against Fiji and it sees Jack Welsby start in the halves alongside George Williams.

Despite playing out of his usual position at fullback, Welsby has been exceptional for St Helens in the halves this season and has been named at no.6 for Shaun Wane’s side in the opening game of the tournament against Samoa.

Speaking ahead of the game on BBC, former England captain Jamie Peacock has called for Welby and Saints teammate Morgan Knowles, who has been named on the bench, to prove themsleves on the international stage.

“Since the last World Cup we have had a number of household names retire – the likes of James Graham, Sam Burgess, Sean O’Loughlin.

“For me this England team is about opportunity. For me I’m looking forward to seeing the likes of Jack Welsby and Morgan Knowles. They are great domestically, but can they step up internationally?

“If they can step up internationally then there is no reason why England can’t defy the odds and beat Samoa today.”

Peacock also believes that captain Sam Tomkins will have an important role to play in assisting both Welsby and Williams.

He added: “This is a huge game for Jack Welsby, but this is what World Cups are all about. Give the stage to someone that has not been previously known, give them the limelight and see if you can lead England towards victory.

“They have got Sam Tomkins behind them, which is a lot of experience, that can only help those two lads in the halves.”

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