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Leeds Rhinos: Champion trio retain Bennett’s England faith

Kallum Watkins representing England during last year's Rugby World Cup (Picture: Daniel Carson/SWpix.com/PhotosportNZ)
Kallum Watkins representing England during last year's Rugby World Cup (Picture: Daniel Carson/SWpix.com/PhotosportNZ)
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THREE LEEDS Rhinos players have been included in the latest England elite performance squad, despite their ninth-placed finish in Betfred Super League.

Rhinos winger Ryan Hall, forward Stevie Ward and centre Kallum Watkins – who suffered a season-ending knee injury in May – all retain their place in the latest group named by England coach Wayne Bennett.

Ryan Hall playing for England last year (Picture: Daniel Carson/SWpix.com/PhotosportNZ)

Ryan Hall playing for England last year (Picture: Daniel Carson/SWpix.com/PhotosportNZ)

Castleford Tigers loose-forward Adam Milner is the only new face in the elite squad who will begin preparations for a one-off clash with France at Leigh on October 17 followed by a three-Test series against New Zealand.

Tigers scrum-half Luke Gale – who is recovering from injury – and forward Mike McMeeken are included, despite not featuring in last month’s mid-season Test against the Kiwis in Denver.

Wakefield Trinity winger Tom Johnstone also retains his place after being left out of the side which travelled to the United States.

Rhinos, Tigers and Trinity are all represented in the England Knights performance squad.

Rhinos winger Ryan Hall, forward Stevie Ward and centre Kallum Watkins – who suffered a season-ending knee injury in May – all retain their place in the latest group named by England coach Wayne Bennett.

Peter Smith

New names include Rhinos centre Ash Handley and prop Mikolaj Oledzki, Tigers forward Oliver Holmes and Trinity full-back Max Jowitt and forward James Batchelor.

Leeds centre Liam Sutcliffe and full-back Jack Walker retain their place, along with Tigers centre Greg Minikin and stand-off Jake Trueman and Wakefield centre Reece Lyne.

England Knights are due to play two Tests in Papua New Guinea later this year.

England elite performance squad: Luke Gale, Mike McMeeken, Adam Milner (all Castleford Tigers), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Jake Connor, Scott Taylor (both Hull FC), Ryan Hall, Stevie Ward, Kallum Watkins (all Leeds Rhinos), Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson, Mark Percival, James Roby, Luke Thompson, Alex Walmsley (all St Helens), Tom Johnstone (Wakefield Trinity), Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie, Chris Hill, Stefan Ratchford (all Warrington Wolves), John Bateman, Sean O’Loughlin, Sam Tomkins, George Williams (all Wigan Warriors).

England Knights performance squad: Greg Minikin, Jake Trueman, Oliver Holmes (all Castleford Tigers), Kruise Leeming (Huddersfield Giants), Brad Fash, Dean Hadley, Masimbaashe Matongo, Jamie Shaul (all Hull FC), Chris Atkin, Robbie Mulhern (both Hull KR), Ash Handley, Mikolaj Oledzki, Liam Sutcliffe, Jack Walker (all Leeds Rhinos), James Cunningham (London Broncos), Niall Evalds (Salford Red Devils), Matt Lees, Danny Richardson (both St Helens), James Batchelor, Max Jowitt, Reece Lyne (all Wakefield Trinity), Jack Hughes, Harvey Livett (both Warrington Wolves), Tom Gilmore, Danny Walker, Matt Whitley (all Widnes Vikings), Tom Davies, Oliver Gildart, Joe Greenwood, Sam Powell, Ryan Sutton (all Wigan Warriors).