One-cap wonders: England internationals who played just once including Wakefield Trinity, Leeds Rhinos icons

Aaron Bower

England’s rugby league roll of honour will likely add some new names this weekend, when a clutch of players earn their first cap against France in Toulouse.

They will join a group of men on a solitary cap for their country, many of whom you may not believe have played for England just once (though they do have a wealth of Great Britain caps to their name).

Here’s our run-down of a stellar 13 of one-cap England internationals: including some absolute icons of the game!

1. Jamie Shaul

A star of Super League for a number of years with Hull FC, Shaul’s one and only England appearance came back in 2018. He featured in an end-of-season Test match against France.

2. Tom Davies

Tom Davies Catalans Dragons Alamy

Davies was capped twice by England Knights earlier in his career, before eventually receiving his first Test call-up in 2021. His sole appearance at international level in an England shirt came in a stand-alone Test match against France in October that year – with the Catalans winger marking that appearance with a try, too.

3. Neil Fox

One of the greatest rugby league players of all-time, Fox – like several others on this list – played at a time when Great Britain was the pinnacle of the international game, and indeed on occasions, the only avenue, with England sides very rarely taking the field until the 1990s (though England did feature in a World Cup, with Wales fielding a separate side in 1975).

Fox represented Great Britain 29 times and did have one appearance in an England shirt, too. That came in November 1962, when an England side beat France 18-6: with Fox scoring a try and kicking three goals.

4. Alan Hunte

Hunte is another who served Great Britain on multiple occasions, featuring for the Lions 15 times during his playing career. He also has a solitary England appearance to his name too, though – which came in 1992 against Wales, a 36-11 win in Swansea.

5. Henderson Gill

A true cult hero of his time, former Bradford Northern and Wigan Warriors winger Gill’s only England appearance – on top of his 15 Great Britain caps – came in 1981.

Back then, the England side primarily played Wales in Test matches to ensure Great Britain was as strong as possible, and Gill played on the wing in a win against the Welsh in November of 1981.

6. Mike Ford

Mike Ford Oldham RLFC PA
Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Archive/PA Images

Ford, the man now heading up matters at League 1 side Oldham, is another who played alongside Hunte in 1992 for his one and only English cap. He started at half-back as England won 36-11.

7. Danny Brough

There could easily be some conjecture over the validity of Brough’s one and only England cap – given how it came in a representative game against the Exiles back in 2012!

Brough started alongside Matty Smith in the halves as the Exiles won 32-20 and barely a year later, he was representing Scotland with pride at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.

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8. Lee Crooks

Another who was a mainstay of Great Britain sides throughout his career, Crooks earned 19 caps for the Lions throughout a stellar playing spell.

His sole England cap came in, yes, you guessed it – England’s 36-11 win in Swansea in 1992!

9. Shaun Lunt

19th April 2019 , KCOM Stadium, Hull, England; Betfred Super League, Round 11, Hull FC vs HULL KR; Shaun Lunt (9)of Hull KR shouts out orders to his team mates.
Credit: David Greaves/News Images

Super League stalwart Lunt was called into a number of England squads in his career: but the one and only time he got to represent his country came in the 2010 Four Nations.

Lunt appeared from the bench in England’s 34-14 defeat to Australia.

10. Barrie McDermott

Leeds Rhinos legend McDermott made 15 appearances for Great Britain at international level, as well as 13 for Ireland. He is also a member of the group of players to have played once for England, too.

That cap came in 1996, before he began his representative career with Ireland. McDermott featured in a mid-season victory for England against Wales in the European Championship, coming off the bench in a 26-12 win at Cardiff Arms Park.

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11. Doug Laughton

Widnes great Laughton was a mainstay of Lancashire and Great Britain sides in the 1960s and 1970s, and his one appearance for England came towards the end of his career, in 1977.

Laughton started in a 6-2 defeat to Wales at Headingley that day in a European Championship side.

12. Derek Turner

Picture by: PA/PA Archive/PA Images. Queen Elizabeth II presents the Rugby League Challenge Cup to Derek Turner, captain of Wakefield Trinity, after she had watched, with 80,000 other spectators, his team beat Hull by 38 points to 5 at Wembley.

The Hull KR, Oldham and Wakefield Trinity icon made 24 appearances for Great Britain in an illustrious playing career: and one for England. That came in the final years of his playing days, in November 1962 against France at Headingley.

13. Don Fox

From one great of the 1960s to another to complete the team. Unlike his brother, Neil, Don was limited in his international appearances, featuring just twice for Great Britain. His solitary England cap came in 1956, a 23-9 defeat to France in Lyon.

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