Leeds Rhinos, Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Trinity well represented in England squad to face France

LEEDS RHINOS trio Kruise Leeming, Harry Newman and Mikolaj Oledzki have been selected in the 20-man England squad to face France in Perpignan next weekend alongside Castleford Tigers’ Niall Evalds and Paul McShane and Wakefield Trinity’s Reece Lynne.

By YEP Sportsdesk
Sunday, 17th October 2021, 12:00 pm

Newman, who has made a full recovery from a double leg break suffered last season, could be in line to win his first cap for England as could Evalds who is likely to be the starting full-back in the absence of Sam Tomkins – who is ruled out with a knee injury.

It means coach Shaun Wane will have to appoint a new captain in place of Tomkins, who led England for the first time in the mid-season game against a Combined Nations All Stars.

Meanwhile Hull KR half-back Jordan Abdull also looks set to make his England debut as reward for a magnificent season with the shock Super League semi-finalists which also earned him a place on the Man of Steel shortlist.

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Leeds Rhinos' Harry Newman could win his first England cap against France on Saturday after being named in Shaun Wane's 20-man England squad. Picture: John Clifton/SWpix.com.

As one of only two specialist half-backs in the squad, Abdull looks certain to line up alongside Jonny Lomax, one of five players from champions St Helens.

France’s new coach Laurent Frayssinous must also find a new captain after losing Ben Garcia, Theo Fages and Julian Bousquet to injury and he will announce his man when the squad goes into camp on Tuesday in Prades, at the foothills of the Pyrenees.

Another potential new cap could be St Helens prop Matty Lees, who was in the England Knights team that defeated Jamaica 56-4 at Castleford on Friday night.

Another Knight, captain Danny Walker, is also promoted in the absence of his injured Warrington team-mate Daryl Clark.

Castleford Tigers Niall Evalds is in line to make his England debut against France on Saturday. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Wane said: “Things are always going to be fluid up to a point with form and injuries but I’m more than happy that we have the players to get the job done.

“Every player is in on merit and they know what’s expected of them. Each one is a credit to their club, they have adapted themselves well at training and bring a very positive mindset.

“There’s no doubt it’s going to be tough. Catalans Dragons players dominate the French squad and their fans are fanatical.

“We’ll work hard in training this week and we’ll be raring to go come game day.

Leeds Rhinos' Kruise Leeming is in the England squad to face France. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

“The players are ready to do England proud.”

With no NRL-based players under consideration for this re-arranged Test, the only England survivor from the last meeting with France in October 2018 is Wakefield centre Reece Lyne.

Tony Gigot, Ben Jullien, Mickael Goudemand and Anthony Marion, who have all been named in Frayssinous’s 20-man squad, are the French survivors from the team that lost 44-6 at Leigh Sports Village three years ago.

England squad: J Abdull (Hull KR), B Currie (Warrington), T Davies (Catalans), N Evalds (Castleford), J Bateman (Wigan), M Cooper (Warrington), L Farrell, Z Hardaker (both Wigan), M Knowles (St Helens), K Leeming (Leeds), M Lees, J Lomax (both St Helens), R Lynne (Wakefield), Paul McShane (Castleford), T Makinson (St Helens), H Newman (Leeds), M Oledzki (Leeds), J Philbin, D Walker (both Warrington), Alex Walmsley (St Helens).