Rugby league: England name squad for France test

England's George Williams is tackled by Ben Currie and Josh Hodgson. Pic: swpix.com
England's George Williams is tackled by Ben Currie and Josh Hodgson. Pic: swpix.com

England have named a 19-man squad for this Saturday’s international against France at Leigh Sports Village, Leigh (2.00pm).

Coach Steve McNamara has added four uncapped players including Wigan Warriors trio John Bateman, Joe Burgess and George Williams. Forward Mike Cooper, who toured with England last year to New Zealand and Australia, could also be in line to make his international debut.

Full-back Sam Tomkins misses the game after failing to fully recover from a knee injury that has kept him out of action since he last played for the New Zealand Warriors in the NRL on August 30. The 26-year-old, who has re-joined Wigan Warriors for the 2016 Super League season, is expected to be fit for the first of three internationals against New Zealand at Hull’s KC Stadium starting on Sunday November 1.

“The players have trained well all week and we are ready to take on France,” said McNamara.

“We have healthy competition for places across all areas. The players are aware of this and continue to put in the effort in training to make sure they are prepared and ready for what should be a thrilling game.

“We’ve had a very good few weeks since meeting up with the squad, and we’ve prepared well at the magnificent facilities at St George’s Park in Burton.

“I’m sure this match will produce some difficult moments for us and we’ve got to be strong and ensure we come out on top.

“We know what this French side is capable of. They’re a very passionate team on the pitch and have plenty of talent in their group. There’s a fair bit of knowledge within our squad as to what they will bring, with a lot of their players having featured in Super League the last few seasons.”

The England 19-man squad to face France at Leigh Sports Village, Leigh on Saturday October 24, kick off 2.00pm is as follows:

John Bateman (Wigan Warriors)

Joe Burgess (Wigan Warriors)

Thomas Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Mike Cooper (St George Illawarra Dragons)

Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield Giants)

Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors)

Brett Ferres (Huddersfield Giants)

James Graham (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs)

Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos)

Zak Hardaker (Leeds Rhinos)

Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves)

Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders)

Sean O’Loughlin, captain (Wigan Warriors)

James Roby (St Helens)

Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos)

Ben Westwood (Warrington Wolves)

Elliott Whitehead (Catalans Dragons)

Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra Dragons)

George Williams (Wigan Warriors)

Tickets for England v France at Leigh Sports Village on Saturday October 24 (2.00pm) cost from as little as £10 for adults, £5 for concessions and £22.50 for a family ticket. Visit www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk or call the Rugby League Ticket Hotline on 0844 856 1113.

The three-game series against New Zealand starts at the KC Stadium, Hull on Sunday November 1 (5.00pm) moving on to The Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London on Saturday November 7 (2.30pm). The series concludes at the DW Stadium, Wigan on Saturday November 14 (1.00pm).

Tickets to the three-game New Zealand series cost from £22 for adults and £10 for concessions per game. A three-match package costing just £45 for adults and £22.50 for concessions is also available.

To purchase tickets please visit www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk or call the Rugby League Ticket Hotline on 0844 856 1113.