Purtill expects Knights to extend winning run

Kieron Purtill expects England Knights to extend their 100 per cent record against Ireland on Saturday.

The England Knights set up was formed last year as a development squad for the main side, and went onto defeat Cumbria and France in matches last year.

Purtill now wants his side to continue their form into this season, starting with the Irish.

He said: “Every team lifts their game when they play England and they have a lot of players who are making their first appearance in an international environment so they’ll be determined to make the most of that opportunity. That means we can’t take anything for granted.

“All our players are playing for a place in the Knights squad but they’re also playing to showcase their talents to Steve McNamara and put their case forward for selection in the ETS squad.”

The Knights will take on Ireland, Italy and Scotland in a European Cup competition at the end of the current season.

Purtill insists the players’ performances in this game will help chose who moves into the full national side, and who will play for the Knights at the end of the season.

He said: “I’m really pleased with the strength of players I have available. There’s a lot of exciting talent in the squad but there are also a lot of talented players who have missed out and I think that bodes well for the future of England.

“Saturday’s game gives us an opportunity to watch the players first hand and see how they can adapt to being part of an England environment with different systems that what they are used to on a weekly basis at club level.

“We’re going to be going up against an enthusiastic Ireland side who will be going out there determined to prove their critics wrong. They always play with a lot of pride in their shirt and they will be very competitive.”


England Knights squad to face Ireland

Jodie Broughton (Salford City Reds, Queens)
Chris Clarkson (Leeds Rhinos, East Leeds)
Paul Clough (St Helens, Blackbrook)
Mike Cooper (Warrington Wolves, Latchford Albion)
Rhys Evans (Warrington Wolves, Burtonwood Bulldogs)
Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Pats)
Dale Ferguson (Huddersfield Giants, Featherstone Lions)
Mark Flanagan (St Helens, Saddleworth Rangers)
Lee Gaskell (St Helens, Blackbrook)
Zak Hardaker (Leeds Rhinos, Featherstone Lions)
Josh Hodgson (Hull KR, Hull Dockers)
Ben Jones-Bishop (Leeds Rhinos, Queens)
Shaun Lunt (Leeds Rhinos, Ellenborough Rangers)
Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants, Deighton Juniors)
Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves, Wigan St Patricks)
Chris Riley (Warrington Wolves, Woolston Rovers)
Matty Smith (Salford City Reds, Blackbrook)
Scott Taylor (Hull KR, Skirlaugh)
Gary Wheeler (St Helens, Blackbrook Royals)

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