FOUR Leeds Rhinos players have been named in England’s 20-man squad to face the Australian Schoolboys in a two-game Autumn Academy International Series at Leigh Sports Village in December.
Ash Golding (Oulton Raiders), Ash Handley (Stanley Rangers), Elliot Minchella, (West Bowling) and Robbie Ward (Leeds Rhinos, Oulton Raiders) have been picked for the prestigious fixtures along with four players from Wigan Warriors, three from Hull FC, three from Warrington Wolves, three from Huddersfield and one apiece from London Broncos, Widnes Vikings and St Helens.
England Academy coach Richard Marshall says some tough decisions were made when agreeing on the final 20 and is pleased to see so many clubs represented in the final squad.
“All coaches involved made the decision on the squad with an eye on the opposition and what we needed to compete against them,” said Marshall. “Several players included were from outside of the initial 40-man squad, most notably Joe Keyes, Jordan Abdull, Liam Johnson and Sam Wilde.
“Their form, and in some cases first-team representation, warranted inclusion.
“It’s our job to get them playing as a team and supporting each other throughout our camp.
“Ultimately our goal is for the players to push on to the Knights programme and then on to full representative honours.”
Full tour schedule: Wigan Warriors Academy v Australian Schoolboys, Saturday, November 29 (Solid Strip Community Stadium, Orrell, Wigan, noon). Leeds Rhinos v Australian Schoolboys, Tuesday, December 2 (Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds, 7pm).
Autumn Academy International Series Game One, England v Australian Schoolboys, Saturday, December 6, (Leigh Sports Village, Leigh, 2pm). Autumn Academy International Series Game Two, England v Australian Schoolboys, Friday, December 12 (Leigh Sports Village, Leigh, 7pm).
England squad: Ash Golding, Ash Handley, Elliot Minchella, Robbie Ward (Leeds Rhinos); Callum Lancaster, Jansin Turgut, Jordan Abdul (Hull FC); Jack Johnson, Sam Wilde, Toby King (Warrington Wolves); Jake Shorrocks, Luke Waterworth, Nick Gregson, Oliver Gildart (Wigan Warriors); Joe Keyes, (London Broncos); Liam Johnson, Mikey Wood, Tyler Dickinson (Huddersfield Giants); Oliver Davies, (St Helens); Ted Chaplehow, Widnes (Vikings).
Wigan general manager Kris Radlinski, 38, has been promoted and will join chairman Ian Lenagan and non-executive director Winston Higham on the board of directors.
Radlinksi scored 183 tries in 322 appearances for Wigan between 1993 and 2006, and has been a member of the backroom team since 2010.