LEEDS RHINOS boss Brian McDermott is “pleased and proud” to have seven players selected for England’s mid-season training squad.
Rhinos’ Carl Ablett, Tom Briscoe, Ryan Hall, Kevin Sinfield and Kallum Watkins have all retained their place from last year’s World Cup.
Zak Hardaker is back in favour after a controversial early exit from the World Cup squad and Jamie Jones-Buchanan, who was unavailable for that tournament due to injury, is also included.
Castleford Tigers are also celebrating after Daryl Clark, Craig Huby and Michael Shenton were called up to the squad which will meet for a camp in Loughborough from June 15-17.
“We are all really pleased and proud to have players selected in the national team,” McDermott said.
“Each one of them takes huge pride in the shirt and I know they are all excitied about the internationals at the end of the year.”
Tigers coach Daryl Powell described having three players in the squad as “recognition for us all”.
He added: “The group as a whole has done a fantastic job so far and everybody has contributed to these three blokes being in the squad.
“The three of them all
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deserve to be in there, alongside a few others who have been outstanding.
“We have got a number of players who are right on top of their game and it has been a great effort from everybody.”
Meanwhile, Ablett will not play for Leeds before the training camp after picking up a two-game ban.
He submitted an early guilty plea to a Grade C charge of kicking Warrington’s Joel Monaghan, during last Friday’s defeat at Halliwell Jones Stadium and will miss the home Tetley’s Challenge Cup quarter-final against Leigh Centurions in two days’ time, plus the following Thursday’s visit of Huddersfield Giants.
Hardaker is currently being investigated over an allegation he made “homophobic comments” during the defeat at Warrington.
Rhinos have stressed Hardaker has not been charged with any offence and remains available for selection.
The RFL say it is likely to be around a week before the result of the compliance department’s investigation is known.
Powell is monitoring former Leeds academy forward Colton Roche, who began the season at Featherstone Rovers.
Powell said: “He is training with us and playing for York. I am just keeping my eye on him.”
The England mid-season training squad is as follows (professional and community clubs in brackets): Daryl Clark (Castleford Tigers, Fryston Warriors), Craig Huby (Castleford, Pontefract Lions), Michael Shenton (Castleford, Upton & Frickley), Elliott Whitehead (Catalan Dragons, West Bowling), Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield Giants, Newsome Panthers), Brett Ferres (Huddersfield, Smawthorne Panthers), Joe Westerman (Hull FC, Featherstone Lions), Josh Hodgson (Hull Kingston Rovers, East Hull), Carl Ablett (Leeds Rhinos, Hunslet Parkside), Tom Briscoe (Leeds, Featherstone Lions), Ryan Hall (Leeds, Oulton Raiders), Zak Hardaker (Leeds, Featherstone Lions), Kevin Sinfield (Leeds, Waterhead), Kallum Watkins (Leeds, Latchford Albion), Jamie Jones-Buchanan (Leeds, Stanningley), Jonny Lomax (St Helens, Orrell St James), Tommy Makinson (St Helens, Wigan St Judes), James Roby (St Helens, Blackbrook), Alex Walmsley (St Helens, Dewsbury Celtic), Kyle Amor (St Helens, Hensingham), Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves, New Spring Lions), Richard Myler (Warrington, West Bank Bears), Stefan Ratchford (Warrington, Wigan St Patricks), Ben Westwood (Warrington, Normanton Knights), Chris Bridge (Warrington, Waterhead), John Bateman (Wigan Warriors, Bradford Dudley Hill), Joe Burgess (Wigan, Ince Rose Bridge), Josh Charnley (Wigan, Wigan St Patricks), Liam Farrell (Wigan, Wigan St Patricks), Michael McIlorum (Wigan, Queens), Sean O’Loughlin (Wigan, Wigan St Patricks), Dan Sarginson (Wigan, Hemel Stags), Scott Taylor (Wigan Warriors, Skirlaugh), Matty Smith (Wigan Warriors, Blackbrook).