TWO LEEDS Rhinos players, three from Castleford Tigers and one each from Huddersfield Giants and Hull FC have been named in the England squad for next month’s one-off Test in Sydney.
Leeds centre Kallum Watkins and winger Ryan Hall will line up against Samoa at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday, May 6, along with Tigers’ full-back Zak Hardaker, scrum-half Luke Gale and forward Mike McMeeken.
Other Yorkshire-based players included are Huddersfield winger Jermaine McGillvary and Hull prop Scott Taylor.
McMeeken is one of three uncapped players in coach Wayne Bennett’s 20-man squad, alongside St Helens’ former Batley Bulldogs prop Alex Walmsley and Chris McQueen, of Gold Coast Titans.
The squad is made up of 12 players from Super League and eight from the NRL.
Bennett, said: “This is a strong squad that I believe has the talent to do well. The game against Samoa will be tough - they have some good players and plenty of spirit but this gives everyone in our squad the opportunity to show what they can do ahead of the World Cup.
“I’m very pleased that we have this chance to play mid-season. It gives the team a chance to work and spend time together and allows my coaching team and I the opportunity to take a closer look at how the players can rise to the challenge of playing against a tough and uncompromising opponent.
“There are some quality players left behind in England who have either just missed out or been ruled out through injury and this game enables me to look at some of those who haven’t been in the squad before.”
Kevin Sinfield, rugby director at the Rugby Football League, said: “This squad has an exciting mix of power and pace and I am looking forward to watching them play in a few weeks’ time. We have a great group of players available for selection and I know that it was incredibly tough for Wayne to select only 20 for this squad.”
England squad: Sam Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Thomas Burgess (South Sydney), Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers), James Graham (Canterbury Bulldogs), Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos), Zak Hardaker (Castleford), Chris Heighington (Cronulla Sutherland Sharks), Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves), Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Mike McMeeken (Castleford), Chris McQueen (Gold Coast Titans), Sean O’Loughlin (Wigan Warriors), Mark Percival (St Helens), Scott Taylor (Hull), Alex Walmsley (St Helens), Kallum Watkins (Leeds), Elliott Whitehead (Canberra), Gareth Widdop (St. George Illawarra Dragons), George Williams (Wigan Warriors).