Stage set for McIlorum

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WIGAN hooker Mike McIlorum was “built” to play on the Test stage, according to coach Steve McNamara.

The England squad is currently at a high-altitude training camp in South Africa ahead of a triangular series against Wales and France.

And McNamara is happy to present McIlorum with a chance to impress after St Helens No.9 James Roby was rested for the series.

McIlorum will miss the first match against Wales on October 27 due to suspension, but is likely to play two matches – against France and in the final.

McNamara said: “Mike is important. He’s young, enthusiastic and was built for Test football. In my opinion, he’s built that way. I’m keen to see him in the games this year.

“He’s suspended for the first game but he deserves an opportunity to be in the squad.

“Most people thought Wigan might get to the final and his ban would be served but so be it. We’ve got other options and he’ll be available as and when.”

McIlorum – named the Warriors coaches’ player of the year earlier this week – played for England against the Exiles last season but has found himself on the outer since, with Roby preferred by the Test coach.

McNamara said: “He’s been unlucky as Roby is around but certain players go through that.

“If you were a loose-forward when Andy Farrell was around, people said that.

“And look at the Australia team now, if you’re a good full-back or hooker those positions have been taken.

“James Roby has dominated that position for a long time but he’s one or two niggles that need fixing up and looking after.

“It gives someone else a chance and McIlorum has been sensational this year.”