Can we learn anything from England’s World Cup warm-up shirt numbers?

As England took to the field against the Affiliated States for their World Cup warm-up, there were some interesting shirt number selections.

But can we really learn anything from them – or is it as the old cliche goes, just a number?

Here is the 24-man list:

1. Gareth Widdop
2. Jermaine McGillvary
3. Ben Currie
4. Mark Percival
5. Stefan Ratchford
6. George Williams
7. Luke Gale
8. Sam Burgess
9. Josh Hodgson
10. James Graham
11. Elliott Whitehead
12. John Bateman
13. Sean O’Loughlin
14. Chris Hill
15. Thomas Burgess
16. Chris Heighington
17. James Roby
18. Alex Walmsley
19. Scott Taylor
20. Mike McMeeken
21. Kevin Brown
22. Ryan Hall
23. Kallum Watkins
Jonny Lomax not selected

Despite there only being two wingers in the squad one of them, Ryan Hall, has number 22 – with Stefan Ratchford interestingly named as number five, which perhaps hints at a typically Australian approach whereby full-backs are utilised as outside backs.

Gareth Widdop, named as the best stand-off in the NRL this season, has been handed the number one shirt, though did start at six against the Affiliated States.

With only two centres named in the squad, one of them Kallum Watkins was handed number 23, with Warrington back-rower Ben Currie handed the number three shirt; perhaps hinting that he will take up a centre spot. Wigan’s John Bateman has number 12, though played at centre in the warm-up game.

In the forwards, Sam Burgess was named in the back-row for the warm-up, although wore the number eight shirt, as Bennett tried out a new option with some of his back-rowers by trade slated to play in the centres.

The England RL media team confirmed to us that these numbers won’t be the same during the tournament, where presumably 1-17 will be used as per previous tournaments.

Who would be your starting 13 for the first World Cup game against Australia? Let us know in the comments below.


  1. Sam Burgess should be named at 13 and Captain also. He has been amazing for a very lack lustre Bunnies this year and can play for extended periods too. Unlike Lockers.


  2. I’m guessing Bennett had the numbers were mixed around to give the kangaroos as few clues as possible to how the side will shape up come the opener.

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