LEEDS RHINOS and Castleford Tigers both have four players in England’s elite performance squad, which will meet regularly throughout the coming season ahead of this autumn’s World Cup.
Rhinos’ wing-centre partners Ryan Hall and Kallum Watkins retain their places after featuring for England in the 2016 Four Nations campaign.
Back-row forward Brett Ferres, who withdrew from last autumn’s tournament due to injury, is also included along with the player who replaced him, Stevie Ward. Tigers’ uncapped forward Mike McMeeken will be joined in the squad by club-mates Luke Gale, Zak Hardaker and Michael Shenton.
St Helens’ Matty Smith, Warrington Wolves’ Ben Currie and Wigan Warriors’ Sam Tomkins are all included, but will not attend sessions until they recover from injury.
Meanwhile, the BBC have secured television rights for the 2021 World Cup. At least 16 games will be broadcast on BBC One or BBC Two, with the rest streamed online or via the red button.
The England elite performance squad is: Luke Gale, Zak Hardaker, Mike McMeeken, Michael Shenton (Castleford Tigers), Leroy Cudjoe, Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Danny Houghton, Scott Taylor, Jamie Shaul (Hull FC), Brett Ferres, Ryan Hall, Stevie Ward, Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos), Kyle Amor, Joe Greenwood, Johnny Lomax, Mark Percival, James Roby, Matty Smith (St Helens), Kevin Brown, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie, Chris Hill, Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves), John Bateman, Joe Burgess, Liam Farrell, Sean O’Loughlin, Sam Tomkins, George Williams (Wigan Warriors).