England coach Steve McNamara has kept faith with the core of the squad involved in last year’s Four Nations tournament with 15 players who travelled to Australia and New Zealand included in a group which will go into camp on Sunday evening.
The seven players who did not feature Down Under include Jamie Peacock, the Leeds Rhinos prop and his club captain Kevin Sinfield, both of whom missed the trip through injury, and Huddersfield Giants scrum-half Danny Brough, who is the only uncapped player in McNamara’s squad.
“His form has been there for all to see, he brings a lot of qualities to Huddersfield and I’m looking forward to him offering those qualities to England,” said McNamara, who admitted he has faced a host of selection headaches in reducing the pool of talent at his disposal to just 22.
“Even without injured players such as Leon Pryce, Ben Jones Bishop and Ben Harrison and the NRL-based players Gareth Ellis, Sam Burgess and Gareth Widdop, we have been able to select a squad which is both experienced and packed full of potential.
“It’s a very pleasing situation to be in. The best Rugby League teams have competition for places in every position and that’s exactly what we have.
“The depth of talent is starting to look better than it has been for a long, long time and with increasing numbers of high quality players emerging through the ranks at every Super League club it can only get better.”
All 22 players will join the England camp at Loughborough University next Sunday. McNamara will reduce his squad to 18 for the International Origin Match next Wednesday, at which point the four players not involved will rejoin their clubs.
In a unique concept to British sport, England will play an Exiles team comprising the best Australian and New Zealand players in Engage Super League that has been chosen in part by the public. The fans have chosen 13 of the 22 squad members to face England and the remaining nine selections will be made by the Exiles coach, Brian McClennan, and his assistant Terry Matterson. The Exiles coaching staff will confirm their final 22-man squad at a press conference on Thursday.
Ryan Atkins (Warrington Wolves, Stanningley)
Chris Bridge (Warrington Wolves, Waterhead)
Tom Briscoe (Hull FC, Featherstone Lions)
Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants, Thornhill Trojans)
Garreth Carvell (Warrington Wolves, Stanningley)
Eorl Crabtree (Huddersfield Giants, Huddersfield YMCA)
Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield Giants, Newsome Panthers)
James Graham (St Helens, Blackbrook)
Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos, Oulton Raiders)
Jamie Jones-Buchanan (Leeds Rhinos, Stanningley)
Adrian Morley (Warrington Wolves, Eccles)
Richard Myler (Warrington Wolves, Halton West Bank)
Sean O’Loughlin (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Pats)
Jamie Peacock (Leeds Rhinos, Stanningley)
Luke Robinson (Huddersfield Giants, Siddal)
James Roby (St Helens, Blackbrook)
Michael Shenton (St Helens, Upton)
Kevin Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos, Waterhead)
Joel Tomkins (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Pats)
Sam Tomkins (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Pats)
Ben Westwood (Warrington Wolves, Normanton Knights)
Jon Wilkin (St Helens, East Hull)