England start their preparations for the World Cup later this year with a game against the Combined Nations All Stars at Warrington on Saturday.
Recommended bet5:45 pm Saturday June 18
England v Combined Nations All Stars Rugby League Betting Odds, Tips & Predictions
England head coach Shaun Wane has named his 20-man squad for their mid-season international against the Combined Nations All Stars.
With the World Cup starting at the end of the season, Wane doesn’t have many opportunities to see his team in action and this match will allow him to see who is ready for the step up.
The All Stars fixture revives a rugby league tradition which stretches back to the Other Nationalities team of the early 20th century, with the team made up of players from across the rugby league world who are currently playing in the northern hemisphere.
Coaching the All Stars this year will be legend Ellery Hanley MBE, who goes head-to-head with his former Wigan and Leeds team-mate Wane.
Catalans Dragons full-back Sam Tomkins has been named captain, while team-mate Michael McIlorum gets his first England call-up since the 2013 World Cup. Mike McMeeken is the third Dragons player to be selected.
Champions St Helens and Warrington have the most players selected with five each. Joe Batchelor receives his first call-up, as does Jack Welsby, and they are joined by Matty Lees, Tommy Makinson and Alex Walmsley. Warrington’s contingent are George Williams, Stefan Ratchford, Joe Philbin, Matty Ashton and Mike Cooper.
After naming his squad, Wane said: “Sam (Tomkins) epitomises everything that a captain should be – a natural leader who’s always in the thick of the action. He’s a very smart player.
“I’ve every confidence in every player selected. Some need no introduction and have earned a recall, others are new to the squad and are also in on merit. They all have the ability to perform at this level and this is their chance to show myself and England supporters what they can do.”
Hanley has named his Combined Nations All Stars squad with eight of the 12 Super League clubs being represented.
Hanley had to rethink his squad after the likes of Jai Field, Tui Lolohea, Mitchell Pearce, Ricky Leutele, Jake Connor, Jake Mamo, Carlos Tuimavave, Mason Lino, Tim Lafai, Sam Kasiano, Tom Johnstone, Ben Garcia and Luke Yates all pulled out from the initial squad. Lafai and Lino are both suspended, but the others have pulled out through injury.
Shaun Kenny-Dowall will captain the team as expected. Brodie Croft, Daryl Clark, Jacob Miller, Matt Parcell, Mahe Fonua and Kruise Leeming have all been selected.
Speaking about his squad selection, Hanley said: “I’m very pleased with the group we’ve named and I’m confident we’ll give England the tough pre-World Cup warm-up that Shaun is after.
“I said when we announced our initial squad back in March that we’d have to deal with injuries and suspensions, while also working within the framework of the fixture, in terms of how many players we can select per team, and we’ve had to do this. But I think despite these factors, we’ve still put together a squad that is definitely capable of getting a result.
“From what I’ve heard off people who were involved in last year’s camp, there was a real togetherness among the players and the staff, and I’m looking forward to generating that same feeling when we get the players in tomorrow.”
As much as Shaun Wane will insist this is a warm-up, it is still a game they have to win. They will not get many opportunities to play together before the World Cup and they have to take this game seriously. I am backing England to win – avenging last year’s defeat.
With Tomkins at full-back and captain, I expect him to revel in that role and cross over a try at any time. Ryan Hall seems to get better with age and with Jermaine McGillvary retiring, you would expect Hall to start in this game and at the World Cup. I am backing him for the first try of the game. For the Combined Nations All Stars, I am backing Salford’s Ken Sio to take his league form into this game and score the All Stars’ first try.
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Recommended bet5:45 pm Saturday June 18
England v Combined Nations All Stars Squads
Matty Ashton (Warrington Wolves), Joe Batchelor (St Helens), John Bateman (Wigan Warriors), Mike Cooper (Warrington Wolves), Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors), Ryan Hall (Hull KR), Matty Lees (St Helens), Michael McIlorum, Mike McMeeken (both Catalans Dragons), Paul McShane (Castleford Tigers), Tommy Makinson (St Helens), Mikolaj Oledzki (Leeds Rhinos), Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford (both Warrington Wolves), Sam Tomkins (Catalans Dragons, Captain), Alex Walmsley (St Helens), Jake Wardle (Huddersfield Giants), Kallum Watkins (Salford Red Devils), Jack Welsby (St Helens), George Williams (Warrington Wolves)
Combined Nations All Stars Squad
Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves), Brodie Croft (Salford Red Devils), Kenny Edwards (Castleford Tigers), David Fifita (Wakefield Trinity), Mahe Fonua (Castleford Tigers), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Hull KR), Samisoni Langi (Catalans Dragons), Kruise Leeming (Leeds Rhinos), Joe Lovodua (Hull FC), Rhys Martin (Leeds Rhinos), Peter Mata’utia (Warrington Wolves), Manu Maʻu (Hull FC), Jacob Miller (Wakefield Trinity), Matt Parcell (Hull KR), Matt Prior (Leeds Rhinos), Ligi Sao (Hull FC), Chris Satae (Hull FC), Ken Sio (Salford Red Devils), Kelepi Tanginoa (Wakefield Trinity), Zane Tetevano (Leeds Rhinos)
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