World Cup: One Super League player on each team on England radar
With the rearranged World Cup closing in, we take a look at one player from each Super League club that has a chance of making it into the England squad.
The competition was due to take place last year. However, both Australia and New Zealand pulled out of the tournament due to concerns over Covid-19. Organisers postponed the tournament by a year as a result.
It will still get underway in Newcastle, with England taking on Samoa in their first match. They have also been drawn with France and Greece in their World Cup group.
Castleford- Paul McShane
With James Roby no longer available for selection, it could open the door to people like McShane to get in the squad at hooker. He first got into the England setup last year for the Combined Nations All Stars match. He also was the part of the team that faced France back in October.
Catalans- Tom Davies
Another player who got a chance with the senior England setup last year. Whilst still with Wigan, Davies was selected for the England Knights squad. He played in their match against Papua New Guinea. Davies then made his full international debut with games against the Combined Nations All Stars and France. He will be hoping to build on a strong 2021 for club and country this year.
Huddersfield- Will Pryce
Pryce burst onto the scene last year for Huddersfield, and was rewarded with a call up to the England Knights team. He scored one try and kicked seven goals in that match against Jamaica in Castleford. If he continues on the trajectory he currently is, then there is no reason why he would not be on Shaun Wane’s radar.
Hull FC- Jake Connor
Someone who was overlooked by Shaun Wane for the 2021 Combined Nations All Stars clash, Connor will be keen to get back in the fold. Connor ended up playing for the Combined Nations, but came off with a knee injury. Connor came into the England setup back in 2018, making his debut in the Denver test against New Zealand. He has made five appearances, scoring four tries and nine goals. He will definitely be keen to make a point in 2022.
Hull KR- Jordan Abdull
Another player looking to back up a strong 2021 is Jordan Abdull. He played a key role in the Robins reaching the play-offs, where they found themselves 80 minutes from a first ever Super League Grand Final appearance. Abdull was also recognised for his role with a first ever England call-up for the international against France. He kicked three goals as England won in Perpignan. Despite the arrival of Lachlan Coote, he has kept goal-kicking responsibilities even when Coote has been on the pitch.
Leeds- Ash Handley
Ash Handley is somebody who always seems to get overlooked when it comes to internationals. He was even omitted from the latest train on squad. The 26-year-old has been a consistent performer for Leeds, particularly over the last few years. The closest he has got was a Knights selection for the game against Papua New Guinea in 2018. Handley also played for the Nines team in 2019. After the World Cup, he was selected in the Great Britain squad as a replacement for Ryan Hall, who was injured. He did not play, and as a result, Blake Austin went on the wing. This could be the year he gets selected.
Salford- Joe Burgess
Having not been selected for England since 2015, Burgess will be hoping to catch Shaun Wane’s eye again. His current Head Coach Paul Rowley has backed Burgess to bring himself back into contention for a spot in the World Cup. He was selected for the 2014 Four Nations but did not play a game. Burgess then came into the squad during the 2015 series over New Zealand, where he scored a try. If he can keep his good start up, then he could well be back for England.
St Helens- Matty Lees
Lees could be close on the radar of selectors, after a good season with St Helens in 2021. He was part of both final-winning sides and played a key role throughout the season. In 2018, he was selected for the England Knights and went to Papua New Guinea with them. Had it not been for a serious injury he picked up in 2019, he may well have been in line for a Great Britain call up that year. He was also selected in the train-on squad earlier this year, so will have a chance to impress Shaun Wane.
Considering Toulouse only have five players who can represent England in their ranks, and none of them have played for England, it did not seem right to include them in the list. James Cunningham once made the England Knights performance squad, although he did not play for them. Guy Armitage also played for England at Under-20 level in his rugby union days. Olly Ashall-Bott could potentially be one for the future.
Wakefield- Tom Johnstone
The story of Tom Johnstone’s career has been blighted by injuries. He has had two serious knee injuries, one in 2017, and the other in 2019 which have hindered his progress. In 2018, he was picked for England in a friendly against France and scored a hat-trick. He has not played for England since that day. If he has an injury-free year, he could well put himself into contention.
Warrington- Ben Currie
Despite initially playing for Ireland, Currie was asked to come into the England setup back in 2015 by then Head Coach Steve McNamara for their test series against New Zealand. He eventually made his debut in the 2017 World Cup. After a couple of years away, he came back into the squad last year for the France test. He is another player whose serious injuries have hindered their progress. But he has been playing well recently, as illustrated by his latest call-up, and could be part of Shaun Wane’s plans.
Wigan- Liam Farrell
Farrell has been one of the most consistent forwards in the Super League for the past decade or so. He first became part of the England setup in 2013, and was there until 2016. However, he did make a return in 2021. His inclusion in the latest train-on squad is also an indication that Farrell could well be back in the England fold completely after a five-year absence.
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