Lomax back in England squad

Jonny Lomax
Jonny Lomax

JONNY Lomax has earned a recalled to the England senior squad to face the Exiles.

One up in the two-match series following his side’s 18-10 win at Langtree Park, McNamara has made five changes for the return fixture at Huddersfield’s Galpharm Stadium next Wednesday.

As expected, Castleford’s reigning Man of Steel Rangi Chase has been dropped pending the outcome of an investigation by his club into an alleged breach of discipline and McNamara has also opted to rest Leeds duo Kevin Sinfield and Ryan Hall, plus Wigan’s Sam Tomkins and Sean O’Loughlin.

Brough is poised to make his England debut after being left out for the opening game, while McNamara has brought three other uncapped players in Warrington utility man Stefan Ratchford and his former Salford team-mates Matty Smith and Jodie Broughton into a 19-man squad.

St Helens half-back Lomax has also earned a recall to the senior squad after playing for England Knights but McNamara insists his team will be selected on merit.

“I wouldn’t say it was experimental,” he told Sky Sports’ Boots ‘N’ All programme.

“We’ve a lot of young players coming through and it’s the next phase in our preparations for the World Cup.”

McNamara revealed his selection has also been made in conjunction with the clubs, with the international sandwiched between two rounds of Super League fixtures.

The first game was a stand-alone fixture and no fewer than 10 Leeds players were involved for both the senior team and the England Knights.

This time some players will be expected to play three times in eight days and McNamara is especially keen to reduce the workload on Challenge Cup semi-finalists Leeds, Wigan, Huddersfield and Warrington.

“The clubs have been very supportive of the England programme since I took over and it’s only fair that we also co-operate with them,” he said.

“We’ve an extremely busy period coming up, with four teams involved in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup, so the games will be coming thick and fast.

“To overburden a single club for this second game would be the wrong thing to do. But I’m very excited about the players that are going to be involved.”

With Jamie Peacock having announced his retirement from the international game with immediate effect, McNamara will announce his new captain when he finalises his line-up on Monday, although that player will not necessarily become the long-term successor.

“There’s plenty of people in the frame,” he said.

Exiles coach Daniel Anderson will announce his squad tomorrow and he, too, will have to find a new captain following the loss of Wigan half-back Thomas Leuluai with a broken leg.