Predicted: What the England team will look like in 2030

Now is one of the most exciting times to be an English rugby league fan. The return to stadiums looks on the cards, a new season is around the corner, we have a league full of talent from abroad and from home, and we have a World Cup waiting for us at the end of the year. But the next 10 years could see things get even better given the young talent we have lining the league at the moment. So, today we’re predicting what the England team will look like come 2030.

Fullback: Jack Welsby

My tip for the Young Player of the Year Award in 2021, Welsby scored a try that will live forever in last year’s Grand Final as he won the trophy for the Saints. Capable of playing anywhere in the backs, he has superb skill and athletic ability. He’s the natural replacement for Lachlan Coote as the St Helens fullback and could soon find his way into the England team. By 2030 the likes of Jack Walker will be passed their peaks so the door could open for Welsby at fullback.

Wingers: Liam Tindall and Louis Senior

Liam Tindall burst onto the scene last season. As Leeds ploughed towards Challenge Cup success, they were forced to rely on youngsters in mid-week league games and Tindall more than caught the eye. A powerful and pacey winger, he tore Catalans apart at Headingley before scoring his first Super League try away at St Helens. Meanwhile, Louis Senior continues to impress as Huddersfield’s back-up winger. Since debuting in 2018, the 20 year old has consistently scored tries. Give it a few years and he’ll no doubt be doing the same at international level. He’s scored 14 tries in just 24 appearances for the Giants.

Centres: Harry Newman and Jack Broadbent

Like Tindall, Broadbent was another Rhinos youngster who impressed last season when given the opportunity. Reports before last season had the young centre as better than current Rhinos star Harry Newman when Newman was Broadbent’s age. He has a bit of everything in attack and can defend as well stopping the likes of Anthony Gelling last season. Meanwhile, in Harry Newman Leeds already have one of the best centres in the league. He claimed the Young Player of the Year Award last season and ticks every box you’d want from a centre. A classy player already, he’ll only get better.

Halves: Jake Trueman and Harry Smith

I was impressed with Harry Smith last season and I look forward to seeing play in 2021 should he get the opportunity to do so following the arrival of Jai Field. The scrum-half can kick and move the ball and despite being young looks like a quality organiser. More than once last season he made the difference for the Warriors and sometimes impressed in defeat. He’s a winner too having toppled the Aussie Schoolboys in 2018 and winning three consecutive Academy Grand Finals. Joining him is Jake Trueman. I fully expect the Cas man to be an England half for 5 years plus given his superb quality at such a young age. He scored a hat-trick at the age of 18 against Wigan and is already one of Super League’s best halves. By 2030, he’ll be 31 and provide this side with superb experience.

Props: Oliver Partington and Mikolaj Oledzki

Come 2030, Partington will be 31 going on 32. However, it has often been suggested that a prop’s peak comes later than most. Well, if that’s the case Partington will be a class act in nine years time given at such a young age he’s already an impressive prop. He played in last year’s Grand Final and has already represented England Knights against Jamaica. Joining him is a prop who helped beat Partington’s Wigan side in last year’s Challenge Cup semi-final. Oledzki won the first major honour of his young career last year at Wembley and had his best season to date. He’s the same age as Partington and could be a special prop by 2030. He’s more explosive than your average prop capable of scoring from distance. He has an engine too playing more games than anyone in Super League last season.

Hooker: Danny Walker

It baffles me how young Danny Walker is. If he continues to impress, the England number 9 jersey could be his for some time. Last season saw him at times start ahead of current England hooker Daryl Clark. He has a bit of pace and all the tricks you’d want from a number 9. Built for the international game with a bit of everything he could cause problems for even the best defences.

Second-Rowers: Morgan Smithies and Matthew Storton

Morgan Smithies is my tip to skipper this side. He’s impressed ever since debuting in 2018 and played in his first Grand Final last season. He’s only just turned 20 so has bags of potential and will no doubt only improve and improve. He brings both skill and size to the role standing at 6 foot 1 and 95 kgs. Joining him is Hull KR’s Matthew Storton. The back-rower is 21 and is a favourite of coach Tony Smith. Smith knows talent when he sees it and will turn Storton into the complete back-rower thanks to the attacking style of play he promotes.

Loose-Forward: Levi Edwards

This is my shot in the dark. By all accounts Levi Edwards is a class act and has leapt from Scholarship rugby straight into the Rhinos first team squad. He was the 18th man for three games last season and boasts the perfect blend of physical attributes and skill being likened by coach Richard Agar to players in the mould of Paul Sculthorpe. He could very well be a class act as could fellow youngster Morgan Gannon who could find himself in this team as well by the time 2030 rolls around.

Substitutes: Tom Holroyd, Matty Lees, Sam Walters and Ethan Havard

When it comes to the bench I’ve gone for size. Firstly, Tom Holroyd, despite only just turning 20, became a vital part of Leeds’ season last term bringing size and power to the Rhinos pack. He didn’t look out of place in the Challenge Cup semi-final and was unlucky to not feature in the final. Fellow Rhinos team mate Sam Walters also finds his way onto the bench. He impressed for the ‘baby Rhinos’ last season scoring against Warrington. Not only does he bring size at 6 foot 6 and 110 kgs, he is dynamic and brings attacking quality too. The perfect impact sub. If Walters would bring impact, Lees would bring experience. By 2030 the St Helens prop will be one of the older players in the team but will likely still be able to go. Having just been awarded the number 10 jersey at St Helens, the next decade could belong to the big forward. Finally, we have Bulgarian born Ethan Havard. Another bright young forward at Wigan he’s always looked at home in Super League and will likely be trusted with more minutes in 2021. That’ll only make him better and by 2030 he could be one of Super League’s best big men.

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