Record number of Saints players in line for World Cup action

Mark Percival in training for England
Mark Percival in training for England

All four Saints’ tourists have been named in the initial 21-strong England squad to face Australia in the opening match of the World Cup in Melbourne on Friday.

Whether Jonny Lomax, Mark Percival, Alex Walmsley and James Roby make the starting 17 remains to be seen but all will be hell-bent on catching coach Wayne Bennett’s eyes in the build up to the showdown.

England squad: Jonny Lomax, Jermaine McGillvary, Kallum Watkins, John Bateman, Ryan Hall, Gareth Widdop, Luke Gale, Chris Hill, Josh Hodgson, James Graham, Sam Burgess, Elliott Whitehead, Sean O’Loughlin (cpt), Alex Walmsley, Chris Heighington, Tom Burgess, James Roby, Ben Currie, Kevin Brown, Mark Percival, Scott Taylor.

Australia squad: Billy Slater, Dane Gagai, Will Chambers, Josh Dugan, Valentine Holmes, Michael Morgan, Cooper Cronk, Aaron Woods, Cameron Smith (cpt), David Klemmer, Boyd Cordner, Matt Gillett, Jake Trbojevic, Wade Graham, Jordan McLean, Josh McGuire, Tyson Frizell, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Ben Hunt, Tom Trbojevic, Felise Kaufusi.

Regan Grace, Morgan Knowsley and Ben Morris have all been selected in the Wales team for their game with PNG (Oil Search NSF Stadium, Port Moresby, 7:30am, Saturday), while Kyle Amor and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook are set to start for Ireland against Italy on Sunday (Barlow Park, Cairns, 4am).

Prop Luke Douglas has also been named in the Scotland side for their match with Tonga (Barlow Park, Cairns, 6.15am, Sunday) and Theo Fages will captain France in their tie with Lebanon on Sunday (Canberra Stadium, 5am).

It means that possibly 10 Saints players will be in World Cup action this weekend - a record of which the club can be justly proud.