CASTLEFORD Tigers scrum-half Luke Gale today took a step closer to making the cut for England’s Ladbrokes Four Nations opener against New Zealand but there is no place for Hull FC prop Scott Taylor.
The latter was left out of Wayne Bennett’s 19-man squad along with Warrington Wolves’ utility Stefan Ratchford, Widnes Vikings stand-off Kevin Brown, St Helens centre Mark Percival and Leeds Rhinos second-row Stevie Ward.
However, Gale - who debuted against France last week - does get the nod and looks like challenging Wigan Warriors’ George Williams for the N07 role at Huddersfield on Saturday.
Huddersfield Giants winger Jermaine McGillvary is named along with Leeds duo Ryan Hall and Kallum Watkins.
Bennett has made five changes to the squad that was named for the warm-up win against the French in Avignon.
Sam Burgess returns as England captain and makes his first appearance since the Rugby League World Cup semi-final against New Zealand at Wembley Stadium in 2013.
Joining the ex-Bradford Bulls star in the squad is Wigan’s Gold Coast Titans-bound centre Dan Sarginson, who last played for England in the 2014 Four Nations against the Kiwis, Warrington prop Chris Hill, Wigan second-row John Bateman and Williams.
Squad: Bateman, G Burgess, S Burgess, T Burgess, Clark, Cooper, Farrell, Gale, Graham, Hall, Hill, Hodgson, Lomax, McGillvary, Sarginson, Watkins, Whitehead, Widdop, Williams.