SIX Wigan players have been named in the England squad.
Lee Mossop, Sam Tomkins, Sean O’Loughlin, Mike McIlorum, Josh Charnley and Gareth Hock are included in a 24-man squad for England’s forthcoming high-altitude training camp to South Africa and the Autumn International Series against France and Wales commencing later this month.
Warrington Wolves prop Chris Hill earns his first ever call-up to the senior squad after impressing in his first full season in the Super League. He is one of 12 players named in the squad that will feature in this Saturday’s showpiece Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford including seven players from champions-elect Leeds Rhinos - Carl Ablett, Rob Burrow, Ryan Hall, Zak Hardaker, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Kevin Sinfield and Kallum Watkins - and five representatives from Warrington – Hill, Ryan Atkins, Adrian Morley, Richard Myler and Ben Westwood.
Two NRL based players will have their first taste of representative competition in 2012 – Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs prop James Graham is joined by South Sydney Rabbitohs Sam Burgess, who returns to the international set-up for the first time since 2010.
“One player who has impressed me throughout the Super League season is Warrington’s Chris Hill and deserves his call-up to the senior squad,” said McNamara. “I want to see how he, along with the other young players, adapts to the rigors of international competition. It will be great for their development to be training and playing alongside the likes of Sam Burgess and Kevin Sinfield.”
Melbourne Storm half-back Gareth Widdop, who played a pivotal role in his club’s Grand Final victory over Graham’s Bulldogs last Sunday, and Brisbane Broncos centre Jack Reed both miss out with shoulder injuries and will undergo surgery in the close season.
Other notable absentees include Huddersfield Giants prop Eorl Crabtree (shoulder), St Helens forward Jon Wilkin (shoulder and elbow) and Hull FC’s Danny Tickle (bicep). Stelens dynamic hooker James Roby is rested alongside Leeds half-back Danny McGuire.
“This year’s international programme, including our camp to South Africa, is all about fine tuning our preparations ahead of the Rugby League World Cup in just over a year’s time,” added McNamara.
“The Autumn Internationals will be a tough test against two nations (France and Wales) who are making good progress. Like us, they will use this tournament as preparation ahead of the World Cup. We want to make sure we play to our very best and win well.”
The 2012 Autumn International Series tournament schedule in full is as follows:
Saturday October 20 – France v Wales (Stade-Félix-Bollaert, Lens, 3.00pm)
Saturday October 27 – Wales v England (Glyndwr University Racecourse Ground, Wrexham, 2.30pm)
Saturday November 3 – England v France (MS3 Craven Park, Hull, 2.30pm)
Sunday November 11 – Final (Salford City Stadium, 5.00pm).
Tickets for the 2012 Autumn International Series matches cost just £12 (adults) and £6 concessions) and are available to purchase from the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 8561113 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk
The England squad for the 2012 Autumn International Series