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Shaun Wane names 13 debutants and makes big halfback decision

Shaun Wane has named his first England side since the heartbreaking World Cup semi-final defeat to Tonga at the Emirates.

It is a long way away from Arsenal’s ground in more than one sense.

Today we find ourselves at Warrington Wolves’ Halliwell Jones Stadium and the side features only a handful of the players who featured in that heartbreaking loss in the capital.

15 players without an international cap were named in the 19-man squad.

The only three who featured in the World Cup were skipper and Warrington Wolves star George Williams, fullback and St Helens man Jack Welsby and NRL bound Wigan Warriors starlet Kai Pearce-Paul.

Warrington’s Ben Currie is the only other player with a cap.

All of them provide England with experience as they gear up for today’s meeting with Laurent Frayssinous’ France side in the first step towards the 2025 World Cup which takes place in France.

That means a total of 14 players pick up their first cap for England this afternoon.

Leeds Rhinos stars Ash Handley and Tom Holroyd start.

Wigan centres Toby King and Jake Wardle are at centre with Harry Smith given the nod ahead of Mikey Lewis in the halves.

Warrington’s Danny Walker starts at nine with Ethan Havard at prop.

Matty Nicholson starts in the backrow with Morgan Smithies at 13.

Hull KR’s Jez Litten is on the bench with James Harrison, Ben Currie and Salford Red Devils’ Tyler Dupree.

Matty Ashton is named on the wing ahead of teammate Josh Thewlis.

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