Earlier this week, Wayne Bennett announced his 24 man squad that would compete in the International test v France and the four nations tournament taking on Australia, New Zealand & Scotland. There was controversies in the squad as Super League’s man of steel Danny Houghton was left out of the 24 man squad as well as fellow Hull teammate Marc Sneyd. Both had been widely tipped to gain international honours after fantastic seasons for their club winning the Challenge Cup, the first time Hull had ever lifted the trophy at Wembley.
This squad sees 24 players from 12 clubs called up to represent England, 16 from Super League and 8 from the NRL. Wigan have the most amount of call ups with 4 while South Sydney and Leeds both have 3. Four players had been called into their respective league’s team of the year. Luke Gale and Scott Taylor were named in the Super League dream team and James Graham and Josh Hodgson were named in the NRL team of the year.
The clubs are:-
Castleford – Luke Gale
Canberra Raiders – Josh Hodgson, Elliot Whitehead
Canterbury Bulldogs – James Graham
Huddersfield Giants – Jermaine McGillvary
Hull FC – Scott Taylor
Leeds Rhinos – Brett Ferres, Ryan Hall, Kallum Watkins
St Helens – Jonny Lomax, Mark Percival
St George Illawarra Dragons – Mike Cooper, Gareth Widdop
South Sydney Rabbitohs – George Burgess, Sam Burgess, Tom Burgess
Warrington Wolves – Daryl Clark, Chris Hill, Stefan Ratchford
Wigan Warriors – John Bateman, Liam Farrell, Dan Sarginson, George Williams
Widnes Vikings – Kevin Brown
16 players are coming from Super League while 8 are coming from the NRL. 15 of these players have survived from last year’s international series victory over New Zealand and players such as Sam Tomkins & Sean O’Loughlin will miss the four nations due to injury.
In total the 20 players that have represented England so far have scored 68 tries, unsurprisingly Ryan Hall tops that list with 26 tries in 27 appearences for Country. His Leeds teammate Kallum Watkins has 9 tries in 15 appearences in second and joint third with 8 tries is another Rhino in Brett Ferres and the returning Sam Burgess. Both have played 14 times for England.
A fact that England fans will not want to see is that the England have not beaten Australia since the opening game of the 1995 World Cup when they beat them at Wembley 20-16. Since then England have played Australia nine times and lost on every occasion. That is a run of 21 years. They have a slightly better record against New Zealand but there last win against New Zealand in a tournament was in 2011 as they defeated the Kiwis 28-6 in the Four Nations. This will be the first time England and Scotland have met in a international fixture.