An impressive uncapped England line-up, including Super League and NRL stars

Drew Darbyshire
George Delaney, Elliot Minchella, Brad O'Neill England Alamy

From left to right: George Delaney (St Helens), Elliot Minchella (Hull KR) and Brad O'Neill (Wigan) in action

England coach Shaun Wane could hand out as many as six debuts in their Test match against France in Toulouse on Saturday.

Sam Wood (Castleford Tigers), Elliot Minchella (Hull KR), Brad O’Neill (Wigan Warriors), George Delaney (St Helens), Oliver Wilson (Huddersfield Giants) and James McDonnell (Leeds Rhinos) have all received call-ups to England’s senior side for the first time.

FULL SQUAD: Castleford Tigers and Hull KR men among 6 England debutants in new-look squad

With the sextet potentially making their England debuts, that got us thinking: what would would an uncapped England 17 look like? After a lengthy debate at Love Rugby League HQ, here’s our line-up of players who have yet to play for England, and it’s pretty impressive to say the least..

1. Ryan Brierley

A slightly controversial pick first up but hear us out! The Salford Red Devils fullback has played on the international stage before – but for Scotland, qualifying via his family heritage, winning nine caps for the Bravehearts, playing in the delayed World Cup in 2022.

However, Brierley was born and raised in England, therefore is eligible to represent his birth nation as well. He has previously admitted that he’d be ‘honoured’ to represent England one day, but has no England caps to his name (yet). Maybe he could represent both the Scottish and English sides of his family before his career is out?

2. Josh Thewlis

Josh Thewlis Warrington Wolves Alamy

Thewlis has been in blistering form for Warrington Wolves this season, and has previously been around the England set-up under Shaun Wane but has yet to make his debut. Although he is yet to earn his first cap, you suspect it won’t be far away if he continues his rich vein of form. The Oldham-born winger is also eligible to play for Ireland.

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3. Deon Cross

Simply put: Cross has been outstanding for Salford since he arrived at the club in 2022, having taken to Super League like a duck to water. The 27-year-old, who is comfortable at centre or wing, has represented England Knights on two occasions.

4. Sam Wood

Castleford Tigers man Wood is in line to make his international debut for England in Saturday’s Test match against France after receiving his first call-up from Wane. The towering centre, who came through the Huddersfield Giants academy, has been in fine form for Cas this season.

READ MORE: Winners and losers from England squad: Leeds Rhinos duo get chance to impress, form men miss out

5. Liam Marshall

Liam Marshall Wigan Warriors Alamy

The Wigan Warriors winger is probably one of the most surprising names you will see in this line-up! Marshall, who has scored 141 tries in 169 games for his hometown club, played for England against Fiji in a World Cup warm-up friendly in 2022 – but the game wasn’t classed as an official Test match, therefore he didn’t get an official cap.

6. Will Pryce

Pryce, the son of former Great Britain international Leon, is actually set to make his NRL debut this weekend after making the move to Newcastle Knights in the off-season. The 21-year-old, who can play fullback or halfback, came through Huddersfield’s academy and has two England Knights appearances to his name.

RELATED: Former Super League man Will Pryce set for long-awaited NRL debut this weekend

7. Lewis Dodd

The 22-year-old has been a key player for St Helens ever since he made his first team debut in 2020 after progressing through the academy ranks. Dodd, who played in Saints’ Grand Final win in 2021 and their historic World Club Challenge win over Penrith Panthers the following year, will make the move to the NRL in 2025 with South Sydney Rabbitohs but has yet to receive an England call-up.

8. George Delaney

George Delaney St Helens Alamy
George Delaney for St Helens

St Helens prop Delaney has received a call-up from England boss Wane for Saturday’s Test in Toulouse, and it is richly deserved. The 20-year-old’s rise has been impressive to say the least since bursting onto the Super League scene in 2022.

9. Brad O’Neill

It’s hard to believe O’Neill is still only 21 years of age given the fact he has won a Super League title, two Challenge Cups, a League Leaders’ Shield and a World Club Challenge with boyhood club Wigan. O’Neill, who has already made 66 first team appearances for the Warriors, has quickly become a key figure in Matt Peet’s forward pack.

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10. Ryan Sutton

Sutton is probably the biggest surprise in this line-up of uncapped England players! The 28-year-old has been in the NRL since 2019 after making the move Down Under from his hometown club Wigan, where he won two Super League titles and a World Club Challenge. Sutton, now plying his trade with Canterbury Bulldogs, represented England at the Rugby League World Cup 9s in 2019, but has yet to make his full debut.

11. James McDonnell

James McDonnell Leeds Rhinos Alamy
James McDonnell for Leeds Rhinos in 2024-Alamy

The Leeds Rhinos forward is another potential England debutant this weekend after receiving the call-up from Shaun Wane. McDonnell has played on the international before though – for Ireland – representing the Wolfhounds at the delayed World Cup in 2022, qualifying through his father’s side of the family. Quite ironically, he was actually in Ireland visiting family when he received the phone call from England coach Wane!

FRANCE: Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors forwards in France squad to take on England

12. Junior Nsemba

Nsemba has enjoyed a stunning rise with hometown club Wigan, having grown up merely a stone’s throw away from the Brick Community Stadium. The 19-year-old, who is of Cameroonian heritage through his parents, hasn’t even made an England Knights appearance yet but you feel his senior debut wouldn’t be too far away given his career trajectory.

READ MORE: Ranking every Super League club by number of academy products fielded in 2024

13. Elliot Minchella

The 28-year-old has developed into one of the premiere loose forwards in Super League since arriving at Hull Kingston Rovers in 2020. Bradford-born Minchella, who is of Italian heritage, is set to make his England debut against France on Saturday, and deservedly so.


14. Oliver Wilson

Oliver Wilson Huddersfield Giants Alamy

It may have been a surprise to some people to see Wilson in Wane’s squad when it was announced on Monday, but his impressive performances for Huddersfield this season shouldn’t go unnoticed. He is a no-nonsense prop, who at just 24, still has his prime years ahead of him. Wilson is also of Ukrainian heritage.

15. Ollie Partington

The 25-year-old has been a standout in Salford’s forward pack since his arrival from hometown club Wigan ahead of the 2023 season, and he has really excelled in a ball-playing role at 13 for Paul Rowley’s side. Partington has previously played for the England Knights but has yet to receive his first senior call-up.

RELATED: 7 notable form absentees from England squad, including Salford Red Devils trio

16. James Batchelor

The 26-year-old has been exceptional for Hull KR ever since he linked up with Willie Peters’ outfit in 2023 from his hometown club Wakefield Trinity. Batchelor, who represented England Knights in 2018, may well have been in Wane’s thoughts for this weekend’s French Test, but unfortunately suffered an ankle injury in recent weeks. Maybe he can follow in the footsteps of his older brother Joe and become an England international in the near future?

17. Matt Whitley

Matt Whitley
Matt Whitley for St Helens this season

Whitley has been one of the leading back-rowers in Super League for several years now. He joined boyhood club St Helens ahead of this year from Catalans Dragons after spending five seasons in the south of France, and started his time in the Red V in fine form before being sidelined with a shoulder injury. Whitley, who came through the Widnes Vikings academy, has three England Knights appearances under his belt.

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