Sam Halsall hoping to do dad proud after “shock” England Knights call-up

Sam Halsall in action for Wigan

Wigan youngster Sam Halsall spent time on loan at Newcastle last season

Wigan youngster Sam Halsall is poised to make his England Knights debut and will do so with the memory of his late father at the forefront of his mind.

The 20-year-old winger or centre is in line to make his England Knights debut this Friday when they face Jamaica in Jordan Turner’s testimonial at Castleford.

Dave Halsall, a big rugby league fan who encouraged his son to take up rugby league, died suddenly in June at the age of 47.

Sam went on to play for Newcastle Thunder, where he was on loan, a few days later because that is what his father would have wanted and he will be thinking of him when he runs out at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle.

Halsall said: “It’s sad that he’s not here to see it. He’s been with me since the first day I played rugby. That gives me more reason to carry on and do what I’m doing.

“It’s been the worst year I’ve ever had in my life but rugby has taken me away from all that to be honest. When you’re at training all day, you don’t have time to think so rugby has been a distraction for me.”

Sam Halsall returned from his loan spell at Newcastle and played in four of the Warriors’ last five matches of the season, doing enough to catch the eye of the national selectors.

He added: “I finished the season quite well but the call-up was a shock to be honest.

“If I’d have played one game I would have been happy but I ended up playing eight which is a big achievement. Hopefully I’ve got my foot in the door now.”

The Knights will be captained by Warrington hooker Danny Walker in a match that doubles up as the testimonial for Jamaica centre Jordan Turner.