England Watch: 9 bolters for Shaun Wane to consider for mid-season France test

Drew Darbyshire
Adam Swift, Cameron Smith, James Harrison Alamy

From left to right: Adam Swift (Huddersfield), Cameron Smith (Leeds) and James Harrison (Warrington) in Super League action

With England’s mid-season test against France less than two months away, Love Rugby League will be running weekly pieces looking at who could potentially make their way into Shaun Wane’s side.

England’s men and women will make the trip across the Channel to Toulouse for a mid-season double-header against their French counterparts on June 29.

Shaun Wane handed out 13 England debuts in last year’s 64-0 win over France in Warrington, and with it likely to be a younger squad that takes to the field in June without the NRL-based players, Love Rugby League looks at nine bolters who have impressed during the opening third of the Super League season..

James Harrison (Warrington)

James Harrison Warrington Wolves Alamy
James Harrison in action for Warrington Wolves in 2024

The 27-year-old is one of the in-form props in Super League right now, being an ever-present so far for Warrington in 2024. Harrison, who is the son of former Great Britain international Karl, made his international debut for England in last year’s test match against France, but missed out on a place in Wane’s squad for the end of year test series against Tonga. You feel Harrison may well add to his solitary England cap in June given the form that he’s in.

RELATED: Sam Burgess pays ultimate compliment to in-form Warrington Wolves prop: ‘First name on teamsheet’

Adam Swift (Huddersfield)

Adam Swift Huddersfield Giants Alamy

Quite surprisingly, the 31-year-old winger has yet to win an England cap during his career. It depends which way Wane is thinking in terms of selection for the French test, whether it’s based on merit and current form or whether he is going with a young squad with an eye on building for the 2026 World Cup. If it is based on merit, then surely Swift should be in and around those England conversations given his start to 2024.

RELATED: Huddersfield Giants’ Adam Swift is Super League’s best winger: and the stats prove it

Brad O’Neill (Wigan)

Brad O'Neill Wigan Warriors Alamy
Brad O'Neill in action for Wigan Warriors in 2024

The 21-year-old has had a tremendous start to the year with boyhood club Wigan. He has already won everything there is to win at club level, with a Super League title, League Leaders’ Shield, Challenge Cup and World Club Challenge to his name.. An England call-up next, perhaps?

DON’T MISS: Charting the rise of Wigan Warriors hooker Brad O’Neill who is a tackling machine

Cam Smith (Leeds)

Cameron Smith

Smith was appointed as captain of his boyhood club Leeds ahead of this season, having developed into a real leader for the Rhinos in recent years. The ball-playing loose forward represented England Knights in 2019.. Could he earn his first England senior call-up this year?

Elliot Minchella (Hull KR)

Elliot Minchella Hull KR Alamy
Hull KR captain Elliot Minchella

The Hull KR skipper has been one of the premium loose forwards in Super League for a couple of years now. He has almost made 100 appearances for Hull KR since arriving at the club ahead of the 2020 campaign, including their Challenge Cup final defeat last year. At 28, Minchella has never played for England but if he carries on his rich vein of form for KR, you’d think he’d be a good option for Wane to have in his forward pack. Minchella is also of Italian heritage but is a generation out of being able to represent the Azzurri.

Ollie Partington (Salford)

Ollie Partington Salford Red Devils Alamy
Salford Red Devils' Ollie Partington

Partington is as tough as old boots. The 25-year-old has gained a reputation of being one of the hardest-working forwards in Super League in recent years. But as well as being uncompromising, Partington has been able to show off his ball-playing skills in his 13 role at Salford. Like Cam Smith, Partington represented England Knights in 2019 but has yet to earn his senior debut.. Could that be about to change?

George Delaney (St Helens)

George Delaney St Helens Alamy

The Widnesian prop will have a bright future in the game, there is no doubt about it. He has already played more than 30 games for St Helens despite only being 20 years of age, and has been an ever-present for Paul Wellens’ side in 2024. Delaney represented the England Knights in their win over Scotland in 2022, and you’d suspect his senior call-up would come sooner rather than later.

Matty Nicholson (Warrington)

Matty Nicholson Warrington Wolves Alamy

It’s hard to believe that Nicholson is still only 20 given the ferocious nature in which he plays the game. The Halifax-born back-rower is the very definition of a tackling machine. Nicholson, who came through the academy at Wigan before moving to Warrington in 2022, made his England debut in last year’s win over France but didn’t make Wane’s squad for the Tonga series. You’d suspect he’ll be involved in England’s game against France again this time around to help him get further experienced on the international scene.

NEXT GEN: Warrington Wolves young gun aiming to add to solitary England cap: ‘It’s the pinnacle’

Liam Marshall (Wigan)

Liam Marshall Wigan Warriors Alamy

Marshall is another player that has yet to earn his debut England cap. The Wigan winger played in England’s World Cup warm-up game against Fiji in Salford in 2022 but it wasn’t classed as an official test match, so he didn’t get his first cap. Marshall has been a prolific try scorer in Super League for several years now, scoring 134 tries in 161 games for the Warriors.

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