Nine Warriors in England frame
Wigan have nine players in the reckoning for the 2016 Four Nations Series, it has emerged.
They were among a group of 31 specially selected to attend last week’s get-together with new England head coach Wayne Bennett during his whistle-stop trip to the UK.
Winger Dom Manfredi is the only Wigan player included who has yet to play for England. John Bateman, suspended by the Warriors, was in the group.
Bennett, who has succeeded Steve McNamara as national coach on a two-year contract, took advantage of a bye for his club Brisbane Broncos in the NRL to step up his preparations for the end-of-season internationals.
During his seven-day visit, Bennett took in Super League games at Huddersfield, Widnes and Warrington, met the staff with whom he will be working during the Four Nations and visited the facilities England plan to use during the tournament.
Bennett refused all requests for media interviews during his trip but the Rugby Football League has released the names of the players invited to his get-together in Leeds.
They include all the England-based players involved in last year’s Test Series triumph over New Zealand while among the uncapped players were the St Helens quartet of Alex Walmsley, Mark Percival, Kyle Amor and Joe Greenwood.
Super League leaders Hull had just two players involved, scrum-half Mark Sneyd and prop Scott Taylor, while second rower Stevie Ward, who has yet to play this year because of injury, was one of six players from bottom-of-the-table Leeds.
The England squad for the get-together was: A Walmsley, R Roby, M Percival, K Amor, J Greenwood (all St Helens), B Currie, B Westwood, C Hill, D Clark, S Ratchford (all Warrington), B Ferres, Z Hardaker, K Watkins, R Hall, T Briscoe, S Ward (all Leeds), J Bateman, D Sarginson, L Farrell, D Manfredi, S O’Loughlin, M Smith, J Tomkins, S Tomkins, G Williams (all Wigan), J McGilvary, L Cudjoe (both Huddersfield), Kevin Brown (Widnes), Luke Gale (Castleford), M Sneyd, S Taylor (both Hull).