England will take on Tonga on Sunday at the Totally Wicked Stadium but they’ll be without a number of key stars through both suspension and injury, not least Warrington Wolves’ star and national captain George Williams, whilst key duos miss out from both Wigan Warriors and St Helens.
Shaun Wane named his squad on Tuesday outlining the 24 men to face of against Tonga in the three match test series and there were plenty of shock omissions, however some of these have now been explained away by injury.
One man who did feature in the squad but won’t star on Sunday is captain George Williams with the Warrington man serving a two match ban and therefore suspended.
Consequent to Williams’ suspension there’s a shirt in the halves available but it won’t be St Helens’ Jonny Lomax taking it, with Wane explaining to the media on Tuesday that both he and a Saints’ teammate are injury omissions.
“They’re injury pull-outs,” Wane explained.
“We have a really good, strict process with our doctor Chris Brooks and he’s put a process in place and dealing with clubs and the clubs have been great in dealing with him and being honest with him so I’m happy with the way it’s gone, I’m happy with the 24 players I’ve got and I’m just looking forward to getting them together in the camp tomorrow.”
Asked whether the duo could feature at some point, Wane bluntly replied: “No, without sounding nasty I’ve forgotten about them now, they can’t play and the only people I’m thinking about is the 24 man squad I’ve picked and then we’ll see how we go next year, in the Samoa game and I’ll deal with that then.”
Three more players that missed out and were surprising absentees were Grand Final winning pair Jake Wardle and Kai Pearce-Paul, as well as Brisbane Broncos’ Herbie Farnworth.
Wardle and Pearce-Paul shone on Saturday in the Grand Final but it was confirmed by Wane that the duo missed out through injury, however he had selected other Cherry and White stars, of which he touched upon.
“They’re very professional, so fingers crossed. I’ve spoke to Faz (Liam Farrell) this morning and Harry (Smith) and seemed in great form as you’d expect.”
Wardle had potentially been expected to compete with NRL star Herbie Farnworth for the centre position, but Farnworth also failed to make thee squad after picking up an injury in the NRL Grand Final.
Wane explained: “I thought he played well in the Grand Final, Herbie. He played well, but yeah, it was pretty soon after the game; but I’m looking forward to looking at Harry Newman now, he’s my focus.”