Eight Wigan players named in England Performance Squads
John Bateman, Sean O’Loughlin and George Williams all named in 21-man Elite Performance Squad
- Joe Burgess, Tom Davies, Oliver Gildart, Sam Powell and Ryan Sutton named in England Knights Performance Squad
Eight Wigan players have today been named in the England Performance Squads.
England will play a mid-season Test and an Autumn International Test Series against New Zealand and Wayne Bennett has selected a 21-man Elite Performance Squad that will meet regularly throughout the season.
Wigan trio John Bateman, Sean O’Loughlin and George Williams are all included.
Following the confirmed return of England Knights, head coach Paul Anderson has also selected a 25-man Knights Performance Squad (KPS).
The Knights last played in 2013 but return as part of the newly formed England Performance Unit (EPU) led by Rugby Director, Kevin Sinfield, that aims to develop more world-class England players for all senior squads for the 2021 and 2025 Rugby League World Cups.
Five Wigan players have been included in the squad with Joe Burgess, Tom Davies, Oliver Gildart, Sam Powell and Ryan Sutton all receiving call-ups.
No International fixtures for England Knights have yet to be confirmed for 2018, but discussions are on-going and fixtures will be announced in due course.
England Head Coach, Wayne Bennett, said: “The Elite Performance Squad sessions in 2017 proved invaluable for the players in the build-up to the World Cup and it’s important that we do all we can to enable them to spend quality time together in an international environment. The 21-man EPS includes a mixture of experienced international players from the 2017 World Cup Squad, returning players and a new inclusion with Tom Johnstone.
“It’s important for us to focus on the Test matches this year but also keep in mind the 2021 World Cup too and the return of the England Knights Performance Squad ensures that we give players valuable time in an international set up. It is a very positive step for England Rugby League and all 46 players across both squads have the opportunity to impress my coaching staff in the coming months.
“The mid-season test in Denver is a great opportunity to test ourselves against strong opposition and whilst those selected for both performance squads have put themselves in a good place to be considered for selection, we are always looking at all players in both the Super League and NRL and the door is never shut on any player who impresses”.
England Rugby League Elite Performance Squad:
Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers)
Mike McMeeken (Castleford Tigers)
Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants)
Scott Taylor (Hull FC)
Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos)
Stevie Ward (Leeds Rhinos)
Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos)
Jonny Lomax (St Helens)
Tommy Makinson (St Helens)
Mark Percival (St Helens)
James Roby (St Helens)
Alex Walmsley (St Helens)
Tom Johnstone (Wakefield Trinity)
Kevin Brown (Warrington Wolves)
Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves)
Ben Currie (Warrington Wolves)
Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves)
Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves)
John Bateman (Wigan Warriors)
Sean O’Loughlin (Wigan Warriors)
George Williams (Wigan Warriors)
England Knights Performance Squad:
Greg Minikin (Castleford Tigers)
Jake Trueman (Castleford Tigers)
Kruise Leeming (Huddersfield Giants)
Josh Bowden (Hull FC)
Jake Connor (Hull FC)
Dean Hadley (Hull FC)
Masimbaashe Matongo (Hull FC)
Jamie Shaul (Hull FC)
Chris Atkin (Hull KR)
Liam Sutcliffe (Leeds Rhinos)
Jack Walker (Leeds Rhinos)
James Cunningham (London Broncos)
Niall Evalds (Salford Red Devils)
Danny Richardson (St Helens)
Luke Thompson (St Helens)
Reece Lyne (Wakefield Trinity)
Jack Hughes (Warrington Wolves)
Tom Gilmore (Widnes Vikings)
Danny Walker (Widnes Vikings)
Matt Whitley (Widnes Vikings)
Joe Burgess (Wigan Warriors)
Tom Davies (Wigan Warriors)
Oliver Gildart (Wigan Warriors)
Sam Powell (Wigan Warriors)
Ryan Sutton (Wigan Warriors)
Tickets to the England v New Zealand international Test at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver on Saturday, June 23 go on sale now. To buy tickets and for more information, fans can visit www.rugbyleaguechallenge.com
England and New Zealand are also involved in a three-match International Test Series which starts on Saturday, October 27 (2.30pm) at KCOM Stadium, Hull and carries on at Anfield, Liverpool on Saturday, November 3 and concludes at Elland Road, Leeds on Sunday, November 11. Tickets for all three games are on sale now at rugby-league.com and cost from £25 for adults and £12.50 for concessions. ‘Our League’ members will get £5 off all ticket categories when purchased through the Our League App or website.