Four St Helens players named in England’s provisional 24-man squad
Morgan Knowles is among four St Helens players named in England head coach Shaun Wane’s provisional 24-man squad for next Friday’s mid-season fixture against the Combined Nations All Stars at Warrington.
Knowles, St Helens’ Barrow-born loose forward who represented Wales at the 2017 World Cup but has now switched allegiance to England. receives his first call up alongside Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson and Alex Walmsley but there is no place for skipper James Roby.
George Williams currently on his way back to England after securing a release on compassionate grounds from his contract with NRL club Canberra Raiders, is included and Wane will check on his fitness before reducing his squad to 19 ahead of the group going into camp next week.
Williams, who is expected to join Warrington, made his last appearance for the Raiders against Melbourne Storm on May 22.
Also included is Castleford hooker Paul McShane, the 2020 Betfred Super League Man of Steel who is set to make his England debut at the age of 31, plus several uncapped players.
Winger Ash Handley is joined by his Leeds team-mate Mikolaj Oledzki, who has earned a promotion from the England Knights squad and could make history as the first Poland-born player to play international rugby league. Another Knights graduate, Warrington centre Toby King, is also called up.
There are also first call-ups for Huddersfield centre Jake Wardle and former Wigan winger Tom Davies, one of two Catalans Dragons players in the squad alongside Sam Tomkins.
Wakefield’s Joe Westerman is recalled to the England set-up after an absence of seven years, joining his Trinity team-mate Reece Lyne in the squad.
No NRL-based players were considered for selection.
Wane said: “We have a good blend of youth, versatility and experience and I have every confidence in whoever makes the final cut.
“I watch every Betfred Super League game, every week, at least once, and all of these players have earned the right to play for England.”
Tim Sheens is expected to announce his All Stars squad on Sunday evening.
England’s 24-man squad: John Bateman (Wigan), Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie (all Warrington), Tom Davies (Catalans), Liam Farrell (Wigan), Luke Gale, Ash Handley (both Leeds), Toby King (Warrington), Morgan Knowles (St Helens), Reece Lyne (Wakefield), Jonny Lomax (St Helens), Paul McShane (Castleford), Tommy Makinson (St Helens), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield), Mikolaj Oledzki (Leeds), Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford (both Warrington), Dan Sarginson (Salford), Sam Tomkins (Catalans), Alex Walmsley (St Helens), Jake Wardle (Huddersfield), Joe Westerman (Wakefield), George Williams (unattached).