Ten players from Wigan and Hull FC in England Knights Performance squad

Drew Darbyshire

Five Wigan players and five from Hull FC have been included in Paul Anderson’s 25-man England Knights Performance Squad.

The Knights last played in 2013 but return as part of the newly formed England Performance Unit (EPU) led by RFL rugby director Kevin Sinfield, that aims to develop more world-class England players for all senior squads for the 2021 and 2025 Rugby League World Cups.

Every English based Super League club is represented in the Knights squad and they are joined by London Broncos hooker James Cunningham.

Wigan stars Joe Burgess, Oliver Gildart, Sam Powell, Tom Davies and Ryan Sutton have also been included.

Knights coach, Anderson, said: “The return of England Knights is hugely beneficial for the future of England Rugby League and developing players to a high standard for International Series’ and the 2021 and 2025 Rugby League World Cups.

“The sessions proved valuable for the Elite squad in 2017 and involving the Knights Performance Squad can only improve England’s chances in future international tournaments.”

Two sessions in the first phase for the EPS and KPS will build up to the mid-season Test against New Zealand, starting with a joint meeting between both squads with staff from the England Performance Unit and current England senior staff. The squads will then split for the next session. A senior squad for the Test game against New Zealand on June 23 in Denver will be announced in June.

No international fixtures for England Knights have yet to be confirmed for 2018, but discussions are ongoing and fixtures will be announced in due course.

England Knights Performance Squad:

Greg Minikin (Castleford Tigers)

Jake Trueman (Castleford Tigers)

Kruise Leeming (Huddersfield Giants)

Josh Bowden (Hull FC)

Jake Connor (Hull FC)

Dean Hadley (Hull FC)

Masimbaashe Matongo (Hull FC)

Jamie Shaul (Hull FC)

Chris Atkin (Hull KR)

Liam Sutcliffe (Leeds Rhinos)

Jack Walker (Leeds Rhinos)

James Cunningham (London Broncos)

Joe Burgess (Wigan Warriors)

Tom Davies (Wigan Warriors)

Oliver Gildart (Wigan Warriors)

Sam Powell (Wigan Warriors)

Ryan Sutton (Wigan Warriors)

Niall Evalds (Salford Red Devils)

Danny Richardson (St Helens)

Luke Thompson (St Helens)

Reece Lyne (Wakefield Trinity)

Jack Hughes (Warrington Wolves)

Tom Gilmore (Widnes Vikings)

Danny Walker (Widnes Vikings)

Matt Whitley (Widnes Vikings)

What do you think of the KPS? Let us know in the comments below.