Luke Thompson has returned to Shaun Wane’s England squad having missed the quarter-final victory over Papua New Guinea in the World Cup.
The 27-year-old prop forward has been included in the 19-man team to take on Samoa in the semi-finals at Emirates Stadium, London, on Saturday. He is expected to feature in the 17, replacing St Helens forward Matty Lees. It’s the only change of the squad.
It will be the second time the two nations will meet during the tournament, with England claiming a 60-6 victory on the opening day of the delayed 2021 competition in Newcastle.
It will also be England’s 200th full international, but only their fifth against Samoa. If included in the match day 17, Huddersfield prop Chris Hill will climb to second in the all-time list of leading appearance makers at Rugby League World Cups.
England 19-man squad: 1. Sam Tomkins, 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Kallum Watkins, 4. Herbie Farnworth, 6. Jack Welsby, 7. George Williams, 8. Tom Burgess, 9. Micky McIlorum, 10. Luke Thompson, 11. Elliott Whitehead, 12. John Bateman, 13. Victor Radley, 14. Dom Young, 15. Morgan Knowles, 17. Mike Cooper, 18. Chris Hill, 20. Mike McMeeken, 21. Marc Sneyd, 24. Kai Pearce-Paul.
Shaun Wane looks ahead to semi-final clash
Wane told a press conference during the week: “We’ve never mentioned the first game, everything’s been about Samoa and Tonga when they’ve been playing really well, so we’ve not even referenced the first game at Newcastle.
“We know this team we’ll play on Saturday will be a different team, they’re talented, they’ve got a lot of really, really good players from the NRL and they’re going to challenge us and we’ve got to be ready.
“Every single individual player has played better, they were massively underdone and if you remember I said this after the game (against Samoa in Newcastle).
“I know their individuals very well, I watch all the NRL so I knew they would improve massively and I know most of the coaching staff and that’s what’s happened, they have improved, not in a particular area, but I think every individual is playing better, no shadow of a doubt.”