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Shaun Wane names England squad ahead of France clash

England Head Coach Shaun Wane today names a 40-player extended England Men’s squad to prepare for international Rugby League in 2023.

Drawn from eight Betfred Super League clubs, the squad includes a total of 20 players who are previously uncapped for England, although 13 of those have featured for England Knights in the last four years as focus turns to youth with the next Rugby League World Cup – being hosted in France in 2025 – on the horizon.

The current Steve Prescott Man of Steel leader George Williams is one of eight players named from the in-form Super League table-toppers Warrington Wolves, with Josh Thewlis, Matty Nicholson and Danny Walker all being selected after featuring for England Knights last season.

Also promoted from the Knights set-up are Hull KR duo Mikey Lewis and Jez Litten, who join Jordan Abdull as three Rovers representatives in the squad. Abdull – who is hot on the heels on Williams in the Man of Steel race – debuted for England back in 2021 in Perpignan.

Will Pryce (Huddersfield Giants), Ethan Havard (Wigan Warriors) and Tyler Dupree (Salford Red Devils) are the other three players who come into the Senior squad following impressive showings last October for Paul Anderson’s Knights.

Three of the Betfred Super League’s top five try-scorers have also been named – Tom Johnstone (Catalans Dragons), Liam Marshall (Wigan Warriors) and Matty Ashton (Warrington Wolves).

Seven of Wane’s 2022 World Cup squad are omitted, among them captain Sam Tomkins who will retire from Rugby League at the end of 2023 and Wigan Warriors’ Mike Cooper who will miss the rest of the season through injury. Wane will also be without any players from the NRL for the upcoming mid-season international.

England boss Shaun Wane said:
“I’ve selected a very young extended squad this time around and that is very much with the 2025 World Cup in France in mind. There are still several experienced players within the squad who featured in last year’s World Cup, and others who could come back in. I am hoping the more experienced cohort help those younger players adapt and thrive in an international camp which will be very demanding. 

“As always, the squad will be fluid, and players will be added if they are performing well and vice versa should performances dip. I think the squad really shows the depth of talent across the Betfred Super League, which plenty of people saw in person and on TV across the Easter Weekend.

“The mid-season international against France is the first step on the road to the next Rugby League World Cup and we are hoping to begin the journey in front of a packed house at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium.”

England’s Men and Women return to international action on Saturday 29 April for the first time since last year’s Rugby League World Cup – a double-header with France at Warrington which is the launchpad for a game-wide fundraising effort in aid of the MND Association.

Tickets for the Men’s and Women’s international double-header at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium are available to buy online now from only £20 Adults and £10 Under 16s. For every ticket sold, £2.50 will be donated to the MND Association.

England Men’s Rugby League Squad

Jordan Abdull (Hull KR)

Andy Ackers (Salford Red Devils)

Matty Ashton (Warrington Wolves)

Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves)

Ben Currie (Warrington Wolves)

Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors)

Morgan Gannon (Leeds Rhinos)

Ash Handley (Leeds Rhinos)

James Harrison (Warrington Wolves)

Ethan Havard (Wigan Warriors)

Chris Hill (Huddersfield Giants)

Tom Holroyd (Leeds Rhinos)

Tom Johnstone (Catalans Dragons)

Toby King (Wigan Warriors)

Morgan Knowles (St Helens)

Matty Lees (St Helens)

Mikey Lewis (Hull KR)

Jez Litten (Hull KR)

Jonny Lomax (St Helens)

Tommy Makinson (St Helens)

Liam Marshall (Wigan Warriors)

Mike McMeeken (Catalans Dragons)

Harry Newman (Leeds Rhinos)

Matty Nicholson (Warrington Wolves)

Mikolaj Oledzki (Leeds Rhinos)

Kai Pearce-Paul (Wigan Warriors)

Mark Percival (St Helens)

Will Pryce (Huddersfield Giants)

Harry Smith (Wigan Warriors)

Morgan Smithies (Wigan Warriors)

Josh Thewlis (Warrington Wolves)

Danny Walker (Warrington Wolves)

Alex Walmsley (St Helens)

Jake Wardle (Wigan Warriors)

Jack Welsby (St Helens)

George Williams (Warrington Wolves)

Oliver Wilson (Huddersfield Giants)

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