Shaun Wane excited to see Leeds Rhinos’ Mikolaj Oledzki in action for England

ENGLAND boss Shaun Wane is “excited” to see how uncapped Leeds Rhinos prop Mikolaj Oledzki will go in an England jersey next week.

By Dave Craven
Friday, 18th June 2021, 5:00 pm
Updated Saturday, 19th June 2021, 11:21 am

Along with Leeds team-mates Luke Gale and Ash Handley, the 22-year-old has been named in the national side’s 24-man provisional squad to face the Combined Nations All Stars at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium next Friday.

It is a reward for some excellent form from the powerful front-row who could become the first Polish-born player to play international rugby league.

The squad is due to be cut down to 19 before they go into camp next week and, although Wane has not said Oledzki will definitely debut, as one of just three specialist props in the squad, there is every chance he will feature. Oledzki was not in the coach’s original squad named in April but the England Knights representative was a late call-up for Wane’s first training session at Leeds Beckett University a few days later.

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Wane said: “He is good and a great kid. He trained with us, wants to learn, wants to improve and he’s competitive. He’s good to have around, is a friendly kid and those three attributes are perfect for me.

“He’s big, strong, has good leg speed and can play the England way so I’m excited to see how he goes.”

Although having toured with Great Britain and also represented England Nines, winger Handley is also hoping for a senior debut at international level.

Wakefield Trinity loose forward Joe Westerman - added to one of Wane’s squads for the first time last week - is included and hopes to add to his solitary cap earned in 2014 while Belle Vue team-mate Reece Lyne is also in the mix having been dropped from the squad last November.

ENGLAND CALL: For Leeds Rhinos Mikolaj Oledzki. Picture Tony Johnson

Wane said: “He (Westerman) is a form player, no question.

“He’s at the back end of his career and Reece Lyne wasn’t in the squad and got left out. But he’s fixed things and is now back in so we’ve all stuck to our word, myself and the management, and I’m excited to see those two players as well. It’s just a great message to everybody in Super League; you start playing well and get into the stats we need for an England player then you will be in with a chance for the World Cup.”

Castleford Tigers hooker Paul McShane, 31, also gets the nod and is set for a long-awaited debut especially as Wane has agreed with St Helens not to pick veteran rake James Roby.

The squad does not include any of the five NRL-based players but ex-Wigan Warriors stand-off George Williams is in after leaving Canberra Raiders.

BACK IN THE FOLD: Joe Westerman could make his first England appearance since 2014. Picture: Allan McKenzie/

Next week’s game is part of Wane’s preparations for the end-of-season World Cup and he says his team will be “very close” to his final squad.

Huddersfield Giants’ Jake Wardle, St Helens’ Morgan Knowles, Catalans Dragons’ Tom Davies and Warrington’s Toby King are other uncapped players.

England squad: Bateman, Farrell, (Wigan Warriors), Clark, Cooper, Currie, Ratchford, King, Philbin (Warrington Wolves), Davies, Tomkins (Catalans Dragons), Gale, Handley, Oledzki (all Leeds Rhinos), Knowles, Lomax, Walmsley, Makinson (St Helens), Lyne, Westerman (Wakefield Trinity), McShane (Castleford Tigers), McGillvary, Wardle (Huddersfield Giants), Sarginson (Salford Red Devils), Williams (free agent).

HEAD COACH: Shaun Wane. Picture: Allan McKenzie/