LEEDS RHINOS trio Ryan Jones, Mikolaj Oledzki and Cameron Smith have all made the England Academy squad that flies Down Under next month for two Tests against Australia High Schools.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats duo James Batchelor and Judah Mazive are also included in the 24-man group along with Castleford Tigers’ Conor Fitzsimmons. The Academy’s preparations for the tour have included regular training camps throughout the year and a victory over France Under-18s in May which ended 52-20 in favour of England.
England Academy coach Andy Kelly, the ex-Trinity boss, said: “The squad’s attitude in training and our game against France threw up some selection headaches. As a coach, that’s what you want from your players.
“It wasn’t easy picking this group of lads.
“Boarding that plane is what I believe to be the best young talent in English Rugby League right now and I’m confident they’ll go over there and do themselves, their families, their clubs and England proud.
“This is such a massive opportunity for these young men to go on a month-long tour of Australia and test themselves against some of the best under-18s in the world.
“Myself and the rest of the England staff are excited to see them in action.”
Setting up camp at the Sydney Academy of Sports & Recreation during their first week, England Academy will play a warm-up game against Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs before facing Penrith Panthers in their final warm-up of the tour.
England’s two Tests will be curtain-raisers.
The first will be played before Redcliffe Dolphins’ Queensland Cup fixture against Norths Devils at Dolphin Oval and the second contest is ahead of the NRL fixture between Cronulla Sharks and Canberra Raiders.