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Zak Hardaker backs surprise Super League star to receive England call up

England will host Tonga in a three-Test series this Autumn – the first ever international series between the two nations and the first time they have met since 2017’s memorable Rugby League World Cup Semi-final in Auckland.

The matches will be held at St Helens (Totally Wicked Stadium, Sunday 22 October), Huddersfield (John Smith’s Stadium, Saturday 28 October) and Leeds (Headingley Stadium, Saturday 4 November).

Tonga last played England in this country in the 2006 Federation Shield Final – won by 32-14 by England – and the two did not meet again until the November 2017 when the Polynesians, trailing 20-0 with only seven minutes remaining, came within a whisker of overturning the deficit and denying England a final place at the death, eventually losing 20-18.

Two years later the Tongans would emphatically announce themselves as a force on the international stage, with outstanding victories over Australia and Great Britain. With the three-time Super League-winning coach Kristian Woolf at the helm and the outstanding NRL forward Jason Taumalolo likely to be in his squad, Tonga will present a significant challenge to Shaun Wane’s side.

As we look ahead to the series, many have had their say about who should feature in Shaun Wane’s squad and now Leigh Leopards star John Asiata has backed Rob Mulhern for an England debut after a strong debut season at Leigh after leaving Warrington Wolves.

Zak Hardaker also backed his teammate.

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