John Bateman drops out of Paul Anderson’s England Knights squad to face France B as he runs down suspension

John Bateman is one of four players to drop out of Paul Anderson’s England Knights squad to face France B in Bordeaux on Saturday.

The Wigan back-rower was included in last week’s 21-man squad but is unable to play through suspension, however his inclusion in the initial squad allows him to use this game to run down one of the three-match ban he picked up in the Super League semi-finals.

Bateman was shown a red card for a late hit to the head on Leeds Rhinos’ playmaker Aidan Sezer, an act that ruled Sezer out of the Grand Final through concussion and resulted in a three-match ban for Bateman.

Under current laws, suspensions run across all games and competitions in rugby league meaning Bateman can use England Knights’ game this weekend and England’s warm-up game against Fiji to run down two of his three-match suspension ahead of the World Cup.

The decision to select Bateman for the Knights squad has drawn some criticism, however it means that he will only miss England’s first World Cup group game against Samoa at St James’ Park.

Elsewhere in the squad, Bateman’s Wigan teammates Sam Halsall, Morgan Smithies and Kai Pearce-Paul also drop out, alongside former Wigan man and Salford new boy Oliver Partington. They are replaced by Tyler Dupree, Harvie Hill, Jack Broadbent and Jake Wardle.

England Knights game against the France B side on Saturday will be played in Bordeaux.

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