Luke Thompson crowned his international debut by scoring one of England’s first-half tries in a 44-6 victory over France at Leigh Sports Village last night (Wednesday).
The St Helens prop stepped from the substitutes’ bench to crash over the whitewash in a one-sided opening 40 minutes in which the home nation stormed into a 38-0 lead.
Wakefield winger Tom Johnstone scored a 25 minute hat-trick but head coach Wayne Bennett hinted later that St Helens winger Tommy Makinson would start the first Test against New Zealand.
Bennett said: “We’re pretty well covered in those positions, but Johnstone is someone I’ve noticed in the last 12 or 18 months and I’ve been waiting to give him an opportunity,” he said.
“He’s played well tonight but Tommy Makinson is a pretty fair player and will face the Kiwis.”
He added: “There were a couple of players I hadn’t seen play before, so I learned a bit about them.”
St Helens centre Mark Percival landed one of England’s goals while club mate Theo Fages scored France’s only try in the second half.
England’s next outing will be the first Test against New Zealand at Hull FC’s KCOM Stadium on October 27.
They then face the Kiwis at Anfield in Liverpool on November 4 and at Leeds’ Elland Road on November 11, all of which will be live on BBC TV and radio.
England: James Shaul (Hull FC); Tom Johnstone (Wakefield), Reece Lyne (Wakefield), Mark Percival (St Helens), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield); Richie Myler (Leeds), Jake Connor (Hull FC); James Graham (St. George Illawarra Dragons), Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders), Tom Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Oliver Holmes (Castleford), Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders), George Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Interchanges: Adam Milner (Castleford), Luke Thompson (St Helens), Robbie Mulhern (Hull KR), Liam Sutcliffe (Leeds).
France: Stanislas Robin; Paul Marcon, Tony Gigot, Bastien Ader, Hakim Miloudi; Theo Fages, William Barthau; Lambert Belmas, Alrix Da Costa, Bastien Canet, Benjamin Jullien, Mickael Goudemand, Jason Baitieri. Interchanges: Anthony Marion, Thibaud Margalet, Valentin Yesa, Bastien Escamilla.