Wakefield Trinity Wildcats winger Ben Cockayne will start for England Knights in Saturday’s game against Samoa.
Knights coach Kieron Purtill named his starting line-up for the clash, to be held at Salford City Stadium, today and Cockayne, who is currently in talks over a move to Hull KR, has been given the nod.
The former Normanton Knight has been preparing for the match with the rest of the squad at an intensive training camp at Loughborough University and Purtill says his men can’t wait to face World Cup opposition.
“We’ve had a great period of preparation and the boys are really fired up for this game,” said Purtill.
“It’s been quite a challenge for us this year: we have had our biggest turnaround in terms of new faces and the squad has come together really quickly.
“The players have worked really hard and the level of commitment has never been higher: I’m sure they will do a great job on Saturday.
“The physical challenge is going to be massive for us because Samoa are a big team and technically we know we will have to be at our best against opponents who are preparing for the World Cup.
“We know what we have to do and are not short of confidence: the players know they are in the Knights squad because of their talent, skill and ability and that is part of their career pathway.
“Rugby League is a tough game and injuries are a fact of life. The Knights players are the back-up for England’s World Cup squad and the game is a chance for them to show they are ready to step in should they be needed.”
England Knights squad to face Samoa: Tommy Makinson, Iain Thornley, Josh Jones, Zak Hardaker, Ben Cockayne, Daniel Sarginson, Sam Powell, Tom Burgess, Josh Hodgson, Scott Taylor, Brett Ferres, Elliott Whitehead, Dominic Crosby. Interchange: Chris Green, Jack Hughes, Michael Lawrence, Kieran Dixon, Brad Singleton, Josh Bowden, Logan Tomkins.