Wigan Warriors duo make England team but George Williams left out

Former Wigan half-back George Williams has been left out of England coach Shaun Wane's matchday squad for Friday's mid-season clash with the Combined Nations All Stars.

Monday, 21st June 2021, 6:11 pm
Updated Monday, 21st June 2021, 6:12 pm
George Williams
George Williams

Williams was named in Wane's initial 24-man squad after flying back from Australia, where his contract with Canberra Raiders was cancelled by mutual agreement, but he is not considered match fit, having played his last match in the NRL more than four weeks ago.

It means Wane will start the game at Warrington's Halliwell Jones Stadium with Leeds skipper Luke Gale and St Helens stand-off Jonny Lomax as his half-backs, although the versatile Stefan Ratchford is an outside option.

Warrington centre Toby King is ruled out with a knee injury sustained in his side's win over St Helens while Salford full-back Dan Sarginson misses out after being handed a three-match ban for a high tackle in his team's win at Huddersfield.

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Huddersfield threequarters Jermaine McGillvary, who was a virtual ever-present under previous coach Wayne Bennett, and Jake Wardle are the other players omitted when Wane trimmed his squad to 19.

England include six uncapped players in wingers Tom Davies (Catalans Dragons) and Ash Handley (Leeds), St Helens loose forward Morgan Knowles, Castleford hooker Paul McShane, Leeds prop Mikolaj Oledzki and Warrington front or back rower Joe Philbin.

Knowles and Philbin represented Wales and Ireland respectively in the last World Cup and have now switched their allegiance to England.

Loose forward Joe Westerman is hoping to win his second cap, seven years after making his debut, and his Wakefield team-mate Reece Lyne looks certain to play as the only specialist centre in the 19.

Ratchford, Handley and Wigan second rower John Bateman appear to be Wane's most likely options for the other centre spot.

Davies and his former Wigan team-mate Sam Tomkins are making the journey from the south of France by car because there are no suitable flights.

The club did not want to risk putting their players on a scheduled flight because of the Covid-19 situation and a private jet, which is their normal method of travel to England, was not an option.

Squad: J Bateman (Wigan); D Clark, M Cooper, B Currie (all Warrington), T Davies (Catalans Dragons), L Farrell (Wigan), L Gale, A Handley (both Leeds), M Knowles (St Helens), R Lyne (Wakefield), J Lomax (St Helens), P McShane (Castleford); T Makinson (St Helens), M Oledzki (Leeds), J Philbin, S Ratchford (both Warrington), S Tomkins (Catalans Dragons), A Walmsley (St Helens), J Westerman (Wakefield).