WARRIORS half-back Matty Smith has earned a call-up into Steve McNamara’s England squad to face New Zealand on Saturday.
Smith’s inclusion is one of two changes from the 19-man squad the coach selected for last week’s 9-2 loss at the Olympic Stadium.
The half-back is named in the squad alongside Huddersfield Giants winger Jermaine McGillvary. The pair replace Huddersfield’s Leroy Cudjoe and Warrington Wolves forward Ben Westwood ahead of this Saturday’s International Series decider against the Kiwis at a sell-out DW Stadium, Wigan, kick off 1.00pm. The match is being broadcast on BBC One.
Smith has not played for England since last autumn’s 16-14 defeat to New Zealand in Dunedin and could pair up with Warriors team-mate George Williams, who could his place despite being critical of his own performance last week.
McGillvary, Super League’s leading try-scorer from the 2015 season, is hoping to make his England debut on Saturday.
McNamara will announce his final 17 90 minutes before kick off on Saturday.
“We have had a great week with our preparation and the players are ready to take on a strong New Zealand side,” said the coach.
“The players are well aware of the importance of the game and the improvements we have to make from our previous matches to give ourselves every chance of beating New Zealand.
“We will have to be at our best to win, but we’ll relish the pressure of playing against a quality team in front of a full house at Wigan.”
England 19-man squad:
John Bateman, Joe Burgess, Thomas Burgess, Mike Cooper, Liam Farrell, Brett Ferres, James Graham, Ryan Hall, Zak Hardaker, Chris Hill, Josh Hodgson, Jermaine McGillvary, Sean O’Loughlin,James Roby, Matty Smith, Kallum Watkins, Elliott Whitehead, Gareth Widdop, George Williams