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Shaun Wane reveals England’s selection plan for France with Jack Welsby and George Williams admissions made

George Williams Shaun Wane England

International rugby league is within touching distance with England’s Men and Women’s side set to face France in a double-header in Toulouse at the end of the month and now Shaun Wane has opened up on selection, including whether he will play captain George Williams.

George Williams missed two of the three tests against Tonga at the end of 2023 after picking up a ban in Super League meaning that St Helens full-back Jack Welsby deputised as captain, whilst Mikey Lewis was handed a shot at starting in the halves.

Both men shone with Welsby skippering England to two wins whilst Lewis earned Man of the Match in his debut before performing well in game two, with many feeling that he was unlucky to be dropped for Williams in the third test.

England are now a fortnight away from facing France and that’s led to questions about what sort of team Shaun Wane will pick with plenty of players vying for a handful of positions, not least in the halves where the likes of George Williams, Mikey Lewis, Harry Smith and even Marc Sneyd will all fight it out.

Shaun Wane has now made an admission on selection and dropped a key hint as to whether the likes of Jack Welsby and George Williams will play.

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Will George Williams play against France?

George Williams

Credit: Imago Images

In an interview with The Sportsman on their Youtube channel, Wane reacted to the news that the end-of-season series against Samoa has been finalised but he was also quizzed on his selection for the game against France.

On that matter, he was very blunt as he explained that the squad will be much changed from the team that defeated Tonga 3-0 in the autumn.

“Yeah, they will look different. I’ll pick on form”, Wane told The Sportsman.

“People like George and Jack Wellsby, people like that, they’ve got credits in the bank, they’re good players. I know the players as well.

“I’ve got people who will pick, but it will be a younger team, there’s no doubt about that.”

There could also be injury doubts over George Williams with the Warrington Wolves star missing out last night as his side were defeated by Salford Red Devils. Reporting for Sky Sports, Jenna Brooks revealed: “George Williams has a slight calf issue, Sam says it is more precautionary so is expected to be back next week.”

It would seem that Williams will be back fit in time to captain his country but whether he is selected is another question with Wane seeming to suggest that both George Williams and Jack Welsby will be left out of the lineup, in favour of younger players.

How will Shaun Wane pick his England side?

Shaun Wane

Credit: Imago Images

Despite the fact that England won the last outing by a whopping scoreline of 58-0, Shaun Wane is expecting a very strong French side, as he stated: “The French are going to be strong. They’ve got an anniversary coming up, it’s in Toulouse, they’ll be very, very good. I think Catalans are releasing all their players for the French team and if that’s the case, then we want to go over there and we want to win that game.”

Speaking further on his selection dilemmas, he explained that he’s been in constant contact with those players in and around the squad to inform them if their performances drop below an “England standard”, whilst explaining that youth will certainly be the focus for his selection.

Wane explained: “I watch them every week and if I need to speak to somebody about not playing at an English standard, they get to know that as well. I’m happy with how everybody’s going, it’s going to be an easy pick for me.

“We’re going to pick a form for the French game that will be an element of looking for the younger end, making sure that we go for the World Cup.”

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