England coach Shaun Wane explains decision to add Morgan Smithies and Warrington Wolves speedster into squad

Ben Olawumi
Morgan Smithies & Josh Thewlis

Morgan Smithies (left) & Josh Thewlis (right) have been called into the England squad by Shaun Wane - Alamy

England boss Shaun Wane has added Morgan Smithies and Josh Thewlis into his squad ahead of the third and final test against Tonga at Headingley on Saturday afternoon.

Forward Smithies – who will turn 23 next month – saw his exit from Wigan Warriors confirmed this morning, moving over to the NRL with Canberra Raiders ahead of 2024.

He departs the DW Stadium as a Super League champion having starred in their Super League Grand Final win against Catalans Dragons earlier this month, bowing out with 114 appearances for the Cherry and Whites.

Elsewhere, Warrington Wolves ace Thewlis was crowned Super League’s Young Player of the Year a few weeks ago on the back of a campaign in which he crossed for nine tries in 23 appearances.

England chief Shaun Wane explains decision to add Morgan Smithies and Josh Thewlis to squad

Halifax-born Smithies made his senior international debut for England in April as they swept aside France in a mid-season friendly at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Wire flier Thewlis was also in the squad for that game in familiar territory, though didn’t feature, and is now in contention oncemore for a full debut. The Oldham-born youngster has an England Knights cap to his name already.

Speaking about the pair’s call-up to the camp, national team head coach Wane explained: “I’m really pleased to be able to bring both Morgan and Josh into our squad for the final game against Tonga.

“Morgan has had a terrific season with Wigan and impressed me earlier this year when he wore the England shirt for the first time, and Josh is coming in on the back of a breakthrough year with Warrington.

“Both players are very versatile and offer me some options in key positions ahead of the third Test. Our players have endured a long season and there are little knocks here and there, so it’s important we bolstered the squad in this final week.”

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