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

Aaron Bower

Shaun Wane has handed six of Super League’s form players their first England call-ups ahead of this weekend’s Test match versus France including Castleford Tigers’ Sam Wood and Hull KR forward Elliot Minchella.

Wane promised he would reward form and provide a nod to the future in his squad for the game in Toulouse this weekend, and he has proven to be true to his word, with six new faces named in an England squad for the very first time.

Wane’s 20-man group that will make the trip for the game on Saturday includes a blend of experienced players and a clutch of players who will hope to be in contention for the next World Cup squad in 2026.

That includes Wood, who has caught the eye for Castleford despite the Tigers struggling this season in Super League. Hull KR forward Minchella, regarded as one of the competition’s best forwards in 2024, has also made the cut for the first time, and is in contention to make his debut in France this weekend.

There are more new call-ups too, with Wigan Warriors hooker Brad O’Neill earning an inaugural Test call-up along with St Helens forward George Delaney: as revealed by Love Rugby League earlier on Monday.

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Huddersfield prop Oliver Wilson also earns a call-up for the first time, as does Leeds Rhinos forward James McDonnell.

The more established faces in Wane’s squad include captain George Williams, St Helens star Jack Welsby and Wigan Warriors forward Luke Thompson. The Warriors have four players in the squad, with Tyler Dupree and Harry Smith joining O’Neill and Thompson.

Leeds Rhinos have three players in the 20, with McDonnell joined by Harry Newman and Ash Handley, both of whom missed last weekend’s game against Leigh Leopards with concussion.

England squad: Ben Currie (Warrington Wolves), George Delaney (St Helens), Tyler Dupree (Wigan Warriors), Ash Handley (Leeds Rhinos), James Harrison (Warrington Wolves), Tom Johnstone (Catalans Dragons), Matty Lees (St Helens), Mikey Lewis, Jez Litten (both Hull KR), James McDonnell (Leeds Rhinos), Elliot Minchella (Hull KR), Harry Newman (Leeds Rhinos), Matty Nicholson (Warrington Wolves), Brad O’Neill, Harry Smith, Luke Thompson (all Wigan Warriors), Jack Welsby (St Helens), George Williams (Warrington Wolves), Oliver Wilson (Huddersfield Giants), Sam Wood (Castleford Tigers)

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