Ben Cockayne named in England Elite Training Squad


Wakefield Trinity Wildcats winger Ben Cockayne has been called up to England Rugby League’s 30-man Elite Training Squad as the national team starts its preparations in World Cup year.

Cockayne, 29, has been the standout winger during the early part of the 2013 Super League season scoring six tries in the Wildcats’ opening five league fixtures.

The former Hull KR and Featherstone Rovers back is the only new inclusion, with England Coach Steve McNamara keeping faith with the majority of players that led England to tournament victory last autumn against France and Wales.

The squad will meet up at RAF Cranwell, Lincolnshire over the weekend of March 16 and there will be a further four camps throughout this year including high altitude training in Potchefstroom, South Africa at the end of the domestic season.

McNamara said: “We have been impressed with Ben’s (Cockayne) all-round form in Super League over a sustained period of time and he deserves his call up to the ETS,” said McNamara, who has been tracking Cockayne’s progress over the past 18 months.

“The coaches and established players look forward to welcoming him into the group at our first camp later this month. We hope he can build on his selection and continue his progress as a top class Rugby League player.”

Cockayne is the first Wakefield player to be selected in the ETS squad since it was established two years ago.

He said: “It is an honour to be selected.

“This is hopefully the first step to possibly playing for my country. To be recognised amongst the elite of English Rugby League is my biggest honour to date and I can’t wait to meet up with the rest of the England boys in the next couple of weeks.”

Super League reigning champions Leeds Rhinos have the most players in the squad with eight representatives, Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves both have six and there are a further six clubs represented from the Super League across the squad.

“The players are fully aware of the importance of this year,” added McNamara. “Every opportunity we have together will be vital in honing our preparations to make a real impact on the Rugby League World Cup in the autumn.

“We have every confidence in the group, along with our Australian based players, to be competitive against the best teams in the world. We are leaving nothing to chance and our training programme will add variety and the attention to detail our elite players deserve.”

Furthermore, McNamara has invited Bradford Bulls prop John Bateman and Leeds Rhinos forward Stevie Ward to the first camp giving the former England Academy players the opportunity to experiencing training at the elite level.

“The main focus naturally will be about the Rugby League World Cup, but we have a responsibility to ensure the future stars of the game are prepared and ready for international tournaments after 2013 and the World Cup in 2017,” McNamara said.

“That’s the reason why John (Bateman) and Stevie (Ward) have been invited to the first camp. They are part of England’s future and opportunities like this will benefit the lads in their Rugby League development.”

England will start their 2013 campaign with the International Origin match against the Exiles on Friday June 14 at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington and will take on France in a warm-up game before the Rugby League World Cup gets underway on Saturday October 26, when England take on Australia at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff.


2013 England Elite Training Squad 

Carl Ablett (Leeds Rhinos)
Tom Briscoe (Hull FC)
Rob Burrow (Leeds Rhinos)
Garreth Carvell (Warrington Wolves)
Josh Charnley (Wigan Warriors)
Rangi Chase (Castleford Tigers)
Ben Cockayne (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats)
Eorl Crabtree (Huddersfield Giants)
Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield Giants)
Gareth Ellis (Hull FC)
Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors)
Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos)
Zak Hardaker (Leeds Rhinos)
Gareth Hock (Widnes Vikings)
Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves)
Jamie Jones-Buchanan (Leeds Rhinos)
Danny McGuire (Leeds Rhinos)
Michael McIlorum (Wigan Warriors)
Adrian Morley (Warrington Wolves)
Lee Mossop (Wigan Warriors)
Richie Myler (Warrington Wolves)
Sean O’Loughlin (Wigan Warriors)
Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves)
James Roby (St Helens)
Kevin Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos)
Danny Tickle (Hull FC)
Sam Tomkins (Wigan Warriors)
Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos)
Ben Westwood (Warrington Wolves)
Jon Wilkin (St Helens)