England have named their team for Saturday’s match against France with six players to make their international debuts.
Wayne Bennett has added six uncapped players into his 19-man squad including St Helens duo Mark Percival and Jonny Lomax.
Halfback Luke Gale, who toured with England last year during the International Series against New Zealand, could also be in line to make his international debut. Hull FC forward Scott Taylor, Warrington’s Stefan Ratchford and recent addition Stevie Ward from Leeds Rhinos have also been added.
In the absence of newly-appointed England captain Sam Burgess, while he serves a one-match ban which was imposed on him after his final game of the NRL season with South Sydney Rabbitohs, James Graham will lead the team in Avignon – a job he last did in 2010 when he became one of the country’s youngest ever captains.
Bennett said: “The players have trained well all week and are looking forward to the trip to France.
“There’s plenty of competition for places in this squad and it’s good to see a few new faces in there possibly having a run out in Avignon.
“The week leading into this game has been good and the training facilities in London at the Honourable Artillery Company have been outstanding.
As the away side, it’s the kind of environment that I want my side to be challenged in this international Test.”
England 19-man squad:
Thomas Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs, Dewsbury Moor)