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Batchelor included in England Knights squad

James Batchelor has been called up to the England Knights squad
James Batchelor has been called up to the England Knights squad

Wakefield Trinity's James Batchelor has been named in the England Knights squad who will head to Papua New Guinea via Brisbane later this month to play two international fixtures against the Kumuls.

The England Knights were revived earlier this year by the Rugby Football League, at the instigation of Kevin Sinfield in his role as rugby director.

The two-time Harry Sunderland Trophy winner viewed the Knights' re-introduction as a key part of England’s preparations for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

The squad will be coached by Paul Anderson, the former England and Great Britain prop and assisted by his former St Helens and international team-mate Paul Sculthorpe.

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Batchelor has enjoyed a breakthrough season with Wakefield in 2018, making 15 appearances and scoring two tries.

He has now appeared 27 times for Trinity in Super League since the beginning of 2017.

“I’m as excited about the squad as I am about the trip,” said coach Anderson.

“When you add it to the England squad that was named earlier this week for the autumn internationals, it shows we’ve got a real depth of talent coming through.

“Playing in Papua New Guinea is going to be a completely different experience for all the players in our squad. That off-field touring experience is one of the reasons reviving the Knights was so important.

“We’re expecting a warm welcome in a country where they love their rugby league, and hopefully our visit will also be a boost for rugby league in PNG.

“The lads have already seen from the elevation of Joe Greenwood and Reece Lyne from the Knights squad to the senior England squad the sort of opportunities that could open up if they impress on this trip.”

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The Knights leave on October 18 for a week’s preparation at the state-of-the-art Brisbane Broncos training base.

They then fly to Lae for the first match against the Kumuls on Saturday October 27, before moving to the capital Port Moresby where the teams meet again on November 3.