Leeds Rhinos. Castleford Tigers, Hull KR and Wakefield Trinity players named in England side
Castleford Tigers duo Niall Evalds and Paul McShane, Leeds Rhinos pair Kruise Leeming and Mikola Oledzki plus Wakefield Trinity’s Reece Lyne have all been included in the England 17 to face France on Saturday - with John Bateman named as captain.
As expected, Hull KR stand-off Jordan Abdull gets the nod for his first taste of international action as one of eight new caps in the game at Stade Gilbert Brutus, Perpignan.
Full-back Evalds will make his England debut and hooker McShane earns his first official cap as the game he made his bow in against Combined Nations All Stars in June was not classed as a Test match.
Rhinos prop Oledzki is in the same position while hooker Leeming, who actually played for the All Stars in that contest, is set to make his debut off the bench following a fine campaign at Emerald Headingley.
They are on the bench for head coach Shaun Wane while Lyne starts at centre alongside Zak Hardaker.
Yorkshireman Bateman is the most experienced international in the 17 with 16 England caps.
The ex-Bradford Bulls second-row is named captain given Catalans Dragons full-back Sam Tomkins is out injured.
Other new arrivals are Tom Davies (Catalans Dragons), Morgan Knowles (St Helens) and Joe Philbin (Warrington Wolves).
Wane said: “There’s a very positive mood in the camp, a great camaraderie.
“The lads have trained well and we’re ready to go.
“We have some outstanding leaders in the team, including John Bateman who’ll be captain.
“I’ve known John since he was a kid, I trust him, I know what he’s capable of and he’s strong under pressure. And we have other strong leaders too, like Jonny Lomax in the halves and Mike Cooper in the front row.
“This is also a chance for the players to put a marker down for the world cup. Some of them haven’t featured in an England set up before and I’m really excited for them. Representing your country is a dream and I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do in an England shirt.”
Leeds centre Harry Newman, St Helens prop Matty Lees and Warrington hooker Danny Walker are the players to miss out from the 20-man squad.
Niall Evalds (Castleford Tigers), Tom Davies (Catalans Dragons), Reece Lyne (Wakefield Trinity), Zak Hardaker (Wigan Warriors), Tommy Makinson (St Helens), Jonny Lomax (St Helens), Jordan Abdull (Hull KR), Alex Walmsley (St Helens), Paul McShane (Castleford Tigers), Mike Cooper (Warrington Wolves), John Bateman (Wigan Warriors, Capt.), Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors), Morgan Knowles (St Helens).
Interchanges: Ben Currie (Warrington Wolves); Kruise Leeming (Leeds Rhinos); Mikolaj Oledzki (Leeds Rhinos); Joe Philbin (Warrington Wolves)