Just three players from England’s World Cup campaign have been named in Shaun Wane’s 19-man squad for Saturday’s mid-season international against France in Warrington.
As many as 15 players could get their first caps in the match as Wane refocuses on building a young squad capable of moving beyond the heartbreak of last year’s semi-final to the next tournament in France in 2025.
Jack Welsby, George Williams and Kai Pearce-Paul are the sole survivors who played for England last year, while Warrington second row Ben Currie, who played in the 2017 World Cup, has been recalled to the squad.
Manager Wane said: “It’s always been my intention to pick a young side for this mid-season fixture and I’m really happy with the last 19 I’ve selected.
“All of these players have been chosen based on their form in the Betfred Super League and with an eye to the upcoming Rugby League World Cup in France in 2025.
“I’m thrilled to see how some of these guys step up onto the international scene and it’s a huge privilege to be able to give them the opportunity to represent our country.”
Warrington is rewarded for his strong start to the Betfred Super League season with seven players in the squad, while Williams and Currie are joined by Matty Ashton, James Harrison, Matty Nicholson, Josh Thewlis and Danny Walker.
Six Wigan players are named with Pearce-Paul joined by Ethan Havard, Toby King – who played for Ireland in last year’s World Cup – Harry Smith, Morgan Smithies and Jake Wardle.
England beat France 42-18 in the second round of their World Cup campaign in Bolton in October.
The two Australians Georgia Roche and Hollie-Mae Dodd both made the 19-man England women’s squad for the match against France in the first part of the doubles fixture.
Roche and Dodd became the first English women to sign professional rugby league contracts with clubs in Australia ahead of the upcoming NRLW season.
New manager Stuart Barrow has named eight St Helens players to his squad, which will be captained for the first time by Jodie Cunningham.
England Men’s Squad: Matty Ashton, Ben Currie (both Warrington), Tyler Dupree (Salford), Ash Handley (Leeds), James Harrison (Warrington), Ethan Havard (Wigan), Tom Holroyd (Leeds), Toby King (Wigan), Mikey Lewis, Jez Litten (both Hull KR), Matty Nicholson (Warrington), Kai Pearce-Paul, Harry Smith, Morgan Smithies (all Wigan), Josh Thewlis, Danny Walker (both Warrington), Jake Wardle (Wigan), Jack Welsby (St Helens), George Williams (Warrington).
England Women’s Team: Savannah Andrade (York), Keara Bennett (Leeds), Leah Burke, Jodie Cunningham (C) (both St Helens), Hollie-Mae Dodd, Grace Field (both York), Amy Hardcastle (Leeds), Zoe Harris , Shona Hoyle, Tara Jones (all St Helens), Vicky Molyneux (Wigan), Eboni Partington (St Helens), Sinead Peach, Tara-Jane Stanley, Tamzin Renouf (all York), Georgia Roche (Leeds), Emily Rudge (St Helens), Vicky Whitfield (St Helens), Olivia Wood (York)