Oliver Gildart set for England debut and Sam Tomkins recalled... but in a new role

Oliver Gildart is in line to make his England debut tomorrow '“ in a Test side featuring an all-Wigan halfback pairing.

Friday, 26th October 2018, 11:29 am
Updated Friday, 26th October 2018, 1:03 pm
Oliver Gildart was a late call-up to the England squad. Picture: SWPix

Sam Tomkins will end a four-year exile from the national side, when he lines up at scrum-half alongside George Williams.

Head coach Wayne Bennett announced his line-up to the media at the captain’s run at the KCOM Stadium in Hull on Friday morning, with the major talking point being the recall of Tomkins after a four-year absence in an unaccustomed role – though he has had spells at halfback this season, despite starting the majority of his games at full-back.

Gildart was only drafted into the squad late as a replacement for Sam Burgess but has got the nod ahead of St Helens’ Mark Percival, with Hull’s Jake Connor in the other role.

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The only debutant on Saturday will be Wigan centre Gildart, who said: “It’s not sunk in yet, I think the nerves will hit me tomorrow building up to the game.

“Obviously it’s all new to me so I’m kind of just taking it in my stride. It’s a massive honour, there’s some great players in this squad and I’m really privileged to get my chance.”

Tomorrow’s match is being televised by the BBC.

The three-Test series then moves to Liverpool’s Anfield and then Leeds’ Elland Road.

Sam Tomkins in training with England. Picture: SWPix

Teams for Saturday’s first Test at Hull’s KCOM Stadium:

England: J Lomax (St Helens); J McGillvary (Huddersfield), O Gildart (Wigan), J Connor (Hull), T Makinson (St Helens); G Williams (Wigan), S Tomkins (Wigan); C Hill (Warrington), J Hodgson (Canberra), J Graham (St George Illawarra), E Whitehead (Canberra), J Bateman (Wigan), S O’Loughlin (Wigan, capt).

Interchange: D Clark (Warrington), T Burgess (South Sydney), G Burgess (South Sydney), L Thompson (St Helens).

New Zealand: D Watene-Zelezniak (Penrith, capt); K Maumalo (NZ Warriors), E Marsters (Wests Tigers), J Manu (Sydney Roosters), J Rapana (Canberra); S Johnson (NZ Warriors), K Nikorima (Brisbane); J Bromwich (Melbourne), B Smith (Melbourne), J Waerea-Hargreaves (Sydney Roosters), K Proctor (Gold Coast), Isaac Liu (Sydney Roosters), J Fisher-Harris (Penrith).

Interchange: K Bromwich (Melbourne), L Ah Mau (St George Illawarra), M Taupau (Manly), A Blair (NZ Warriors).

Referee: R Hicks (England).