Hull FC's Jake Connor and Wakefield Trinity's Tom Johnstone to face England in World Cup warm-up

England are set to face two players eligible to represent them when they take on the Combined Nations All Stars in a World Cup warm-up match this summer.

By Andy Hampson, PA Sport
Friday, 22nd April 2022, 1:47 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd April 2022, 2:18 pm

Hull FC full-back Jake Connor, who also played for the composite team against England last year, and Wakefield Trinity winger Tom Johnstone have both been named in All Stars coach Ellery Hanley’s initial squad for the mid-season international.

Both players have so far been overlooked by England coach Shaun Wane as he plans for this autumn’s rearranged World Cup.

The All Stars match, which takes place at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium on June 18, is a key part of Wane’s preparations.

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Jake Connor lined up for the All Stars last year. (Picture: SWPix.com)

Hanley’s side could also feature several of England’s potential Samoan World Cup opponents.

England face Samoa in their opening match of the tournament at St James’ Park in Newcastle on October 15.

Hanley’s squad includes nine players of Samoan heritage in Sam Kasiano (Catalans Dragons), Danny Levi, Ricky Leutele (both Huddersfield Giants), Mason Lino (Wakefield), Liga Sao, Carlos Tuimavave (both Hull), Tim Lafai, Ken Sio (both Salford Red Devils) and Peter Mata’utia (Warrington Wolves).

Adding to the Polynesian flavour of Hanley’s squad are six players from Tonga, a side again tipped to do well in the World Cup having reached the semi-finals in 2017.

Tom Johnstone will be looking to push his World Cup case against Shaun Wane's side. (Picture: SWPix.com)

The Tongan influence is also appropriate with both sides to wear Tonga-inspired jerseys to raise funds for the relief effort following January’s devastating volcanic eruption and tsunami in the country.

The Tongan players in Hanley’s group are David Fifita, Kelepi Tanginoa (Wakefield), Samisoni Langi (Catalans), Tui Lolohea (Huddersfield), Manu Ma’u and Chris Satae (Hull).

Other players in the squad who could also feature in the World Cup are Hull’s Joe Lovodua (Fiji), Leeds Rhinos forward Rhys Martin (Papua New Guinea) and Catalans captain Ben Garcia (France).

Hanley said: “I’ve spoken to every one of these players personally and I have been overwhelmed and so impressed by the way they have responded.”

Shaun Kenny-Dowall has been a star performer for Hull KR. (Picture: SWPix.com)

Initial squad: Jake Connor (Hull FC, Trinidad), Kenny Edwards (Castleford Tigers, New Zealand), Jai Field (Wigan Warriors, Australia), David Fifita (Wakefield Trinity, Tonga), Ben Garcia (Catalans Dragons, France), Tom Johnstone (Wakefield Trinity, Scotland/Germany), Sam Kasiano (Catalans Dragons, Samoa), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Hull KR, New Zealand), Tim Lafai (Salford Red Devils, Samoa), Samisoni Langi (Catalans Dragons, Tonga), Ricky Leutele (Huddersfield Giants, Samoa), Danny Levi (Huddersfield Giants, Samoa), Kane Linnett (Hull KR, Scotland), Mason Lino (Wakefield Trinity, Samoa), Tui Lolohea (Huddersfield Giants, Tonga), Joe Lovodua (Hull FC, Fiji), Jake Mamo (Castleford Tigers, Australia), Rhyse Martin (Leeds Rhinos, Papua New Guinea), Peter Mata’utia (Warrington Wolves, Samoa), Manu Ma’u (Hull FC, Tonga), Mitchell Pearce (Catalans Dragons, Australia), Matt Prior (Leeds Rhinos, Australia), Ligi Sao (Hull FC, Samoa), Chris Satae (Hull FC, Tonga), Ken Sio (Salford Red Devils, Samoa), Kelepi Tanginoa (Wakefield Trinity, Tonga), Zane Tetevano (Leeds Rhinos, Cook Islands / New Zealand), Carlos Tuimavave (Hull FC, Samoa), Luke Yates (Huddersfield Giants, Australia).