This afternoon England RL announced their 24 man squad to take on France in the one-off international test and Australia, New Zealand & Scotland in the Four Nations. The 24 man squad includes four uncapped players but have notable absentees including Hull’s Marc Sneyd and Man of Steel Danny Houghton who were widely tipped to have made the squad having impressing in Black & White’s season which seen them win the Challenge Cup for the first time since 2005.
The squad consists of 15 players who featured in last year’s victorious international series against no.1 ranked side New Zealand. The four uncapped players who are welcomed by Wayne Bennett’s squad are Johnny Lomax & Mark Percival (St Helens), Scott Taylor (Hull FC) & Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers)
The national side also welcomes back Sam Burgess. Burgess last played for England in the 2013 World Cup Semi-Final at Wembley as they narrowly lost against New Zealand and since his last appearance became a dual-code international representing England during the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup. He transferred back to South Sydney for 2016 and is joined by team-mate and Brother George Burgess.
Four players have not been considered for selection which includes Dom Manfredi, Sam Tomkins & Sean O’Loughlin (Wigan Warriors) despite the latter returning in Wigan’s Super League Grand Final victory over Warrington. Ben Currie of the Wolves has also been ruled out.
England coach, Wayne Bennett, said: “There’s been a lot of competition for places this year and the players that have been picked are the ones we believe will stand up to the test of the competing nations.
“I’ve always said that there wouldn’t be too many changes when I arrived and there are plenty of guys in the squad who worked hard in last year’s International Series win against New Zealand who have gone on and performed in 2016.
“To have Sam Burgess back is not just a boost for England but one for the international game. Having worked with him in the past, he’s a great bloke to have around and have by your shoulder on the field.
“Injuries are part and parcel of the game and to lose players like O’Loughlin, Tomkins and Currie isn’t ideal but it does offer opportunities to others who have performed in the year and it’s good to see some new and returning faces in the squad.
“There’s some serious talent in this English side and that’s testament to the England programme, the clubs they play for and the player’s attitude in wanting to do their best each week. I’ve spoken to the boys and they’re well aware what’s ahead of them in this tournament.”
England squad for France Test and Ladbrokes Four Nations (professional and community club shown):
John Bateman (Wigan Warriors, Bradford Dudley Hill)
Kevin Brown (Widnes Vikings, Thatto Heath Crusaders)
George Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs, Dewsbury Moor)
Sam Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs, Dewsbury Moor)
Thomas Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs, Dewsbury Moor)
Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves, Fryston Warriors)
Mike Cooper (Warrington Wolves / St George-Illwarra Dragons, Latchford Albion)
Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
Brett Ferres (Leeds Rhinos, Smawthorne Panthers)
Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers, Middleton Marauders)
James Graham (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, Blackbrook)
Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos, Oulton Raiders)
Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves, New Spring Lions)
Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders, East Hull)
Jonny Lomax (St Helens, Orrell St James)
Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants, Deighton Juniors)
Mark Percival (St Helens, Farnworth Rockets)
Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves, Wigan St Patricks)
Dan Sarginson (Wigan Warriors / Gold Coast Titans, Hemel Stags)
Scott Taylor (Hull FC, Skirlaugh)
Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos, Latchford Albion)
Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders, West Bowling)
Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra Dragons, King Cross)
George Williams (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)