Wigan Warriors forward Junior Nsemba’s England omission explained

Aaron Bower
Junior Nsemba Wigan Warriors Alamy

Junior Nsemba in action for Wigan Warriors

Junior Nsemba was overlooked for a potential England debut this week due to a lack of experience at Super League level – but he is firmly on the national team’s radar moving forwards, Andy Last has confirmed.

Nsemba was viewed by many as a player who would likely receive a first international call-up for this weekend’s Test match against France in Toulouse, after a magnificent start to the new Super League season.

Nsemba has played a pivotal role for Matt Peet’s side all season long and has already established a reputation as one of the competition’s most impressive forwards. However, he will have to bide his time for a possible England debut.

Last, who will deputise for Shaun Wane and take the team in Toulouse on Saturday after Wane underwent surgery earlier this week, confirmed Nsemba is in England’s long-term thinking without question – but it was felt Nsemba needs more game-time in Super League with Wigan before making the next step.

When asked whether Nsemba was injured or whether it was a selection decision to leave him out, Last said: “It’s just selection. Everyone’s aware how well he has played for Wigan, but he’s only a young lad.

“He’s around that ten to 12 game mark in Super League (this year), and being considered for international honours after 12 games or so is a credit to him.

“But we want to see him play consistently for more games and then there could be an opportunity for him in this environment. We know he’s at a good club, Wigan have done a great job for years with developing players within their system. And Junior is someone who would be under consideration.”

Last will essentially run the national team setup while Wane is recovering from surgery, though the England head coach will be in constant communication with his staff in the run-up to Saturday – as well as being involved in team selection.

And Last admitted: “He’s gutted, the timing of this couldn’t be worse. He’s missing an opportunity to spend time with his players and the staff. We all get along really, really well. But it motivates Shaun even more for the Samoa Test series.”


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