England announce squad for Samoa test

England Rugby League Head Coach Wayne Bennett has selected a 20-man squad for the Pacific Test match against Samoa at Campbelltown Stadium in Australia on Saturday, 6th May.

Mike McMeeken, Chris McQueen and Alex Walmsley have been called up to an England squad for the first time, while there are recalls for Zak Hardaker and Chris Heighington, who was last selected in 2011.

Sean O’Loughlin (above) will also return to the squad as captain after missing the 2016 Four Nations tournament through injury.

The squad, which is made up of 12 players from the Betfred Super League and eight from the NRL, will take on a Samoa team currently ranked fifth in the world.

Bennett said: “This is a strong squad that I believe has the talent to do well. The game against Samoa will be tough – they have some good players and plenty of spirit, but this gives everyone in our squad the opportunity to show what they can do ahead of the World Cup.

“I’m very pleased that we have this chance to play mid-season. It gives the team a chance to work and spend time together and allows my coaching team and I the opportunity to take a closer look at how the players can rise to the challenge of playing against a tough and uncompromising opponent.

“There are some quality players left behind in England who have either just missed out or been ruled out through injury and this game enables me to look at some of those who haven’t been in the squad before.”

Kevin Sinfield, Rugby Director at the Rugby Football League, added: “This squad has an exciting mix of power and pace and I’m looking forward to watching them play in a few weeks’ time.

“We have a great group of players available for selection and I know that it was incredibly tough for Wayne to select only 20 for this squad.”

England squad:

Sam Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Thomas Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers)
James Graham (Canterbury Bulldogs)
Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos)
Zak Hardaker (Castleford Tigers)
Chris Heighington (Cronulla Sutherland Sharks)
Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves)
Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders)
Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants)
Mike McMeeken (Castleford Tigers)
Chris McQueen (Gold Coast Titans)
Sean O’Loughlin (C) (Wigan Warriors)
Mark Percival (St Helens)
Scott Taylor (Hull FC)
Alex Walmsley (St Helens)
Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos)
Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders)
Gareth Widdop (St. George Illawarra Dragons)
George Williams (Wigan Warriors)

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