England coach on Kai Pearce-Paul potential and Jake Connor absence

Drew Darbyshire
Kai Pearce-Paul Wigan Warriors

Kai Pearce-Paul in action for Wigan

England coach Shaun Wane revealed it would be hard not to pick Kai Pearce-Paul in his side if he carries on in his rich vein of form. 

Wane has named his first England training squad of 2022. In his 30-man squad, emerging talents Pearce-Paul and Lewis Dodd have been included.

Pearce-Paul enjoyed a strong breakthrough season with Wigan in 2021, and has started this season at centre.

Wane said: “He is a good ball carrier and has a very strong offload, something differen.

“As time goes by, he will become a good one-on-one defender as well and I can see him playing Test match rugby.

“If he keeps going the way he’s going it’s going to be hard not to pick him.”

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No-NRL based players have been included in Wane’s squad. They will come together for the first time at Headingley on March 15.

England will play the Combined Nations All Stars again on the weekend of June 17-19.

Among the notable absentees is Hull full-back Jake Connor, but Wane says he could still make the mid-season test.

He said: “I’ve spoken to Jake with great honesty and detail about what I want to see and, if I see that, then he’ll go into the England team.

“He’s a great talent, there is no doubt about that. I want to see certain things. I can possibly see him playing against the All Stars in June if he does what I need him to do.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of players and the ones not included at this stage know that they can still force their way in. It’s an open book and I see some of them coming back in later in the year.”

England training squad

John Bateman, Liam Farrell, Zak Hardaker, Liam Marshall, Kai Pearce-Paul (Wigan Warriors) Daryl Clark, George Williams, Mike Cooper, Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves), Tom Davies, Sam Tomkins (Catalans Dragons), Lewis Dodd, Morgan Knowles, Matthew Lees, Jonny Lomax, Alex Walmsley, Tommy Makinson, Jack Welsby, Mark Percival (St Helens), Niall Evalds, Paul McShane (Castleford Tigers), Ryan Hall (Hull KR), Kruise Leeming, Harry Newman, Mikolaj Oledzki (Leeds Rhinos), Reece Lyne (Wakefield Trinity), Jermaine McGillvary, Jake Wardle (Huddersfield Giants), Dan Sarginson (Salford Red Devils).

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