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Eight Warriors in England set-up

Sean O'Loughlin led England at the World Cup
Sean O'Loughlin led England at the World Cup

Three Wigan players have been named in the England elite training squad - with a further five in the revived Knights set-up.

The three Warriors who travelled to the World Cup at the end of last year – captain Sean O’Loughlin, John Bateman and George Williams – are included in Wayne Bennett’s 21-man panel.

They have regular meetings and training sessions throughout the year to prepare for a mid-season Test with New Zealand, in Denver, USA, as well as the visit of the Kiwis at the end of the year.

But there is no return for Sam Tomkins in the squad, despite starting this season well – his omission last year was put down to injury.

Following the confirmed return of England Knights – who last played in 2013 – head coach Paul Anderson has also selected five Warriors in his 25-man Knights Performance Squad (KPS).

Wingers Joe Burgess and Tom Davies, centre Oliver Gildart, half-hooker Sam Powell and Ryan Sutton figure. There are no confirmed Knights fixtures this year.

In the senior England squad there is a first call up for Wakefield Trinity winger Tom Johnstone and a return to the squad for Leeds Rhinos second rower Stevie Ward, Warrington Wolves hooker Daryl Clark and St Helens winger Tommy Makinson.

Bennett said: “The Elite Performance Squad sessions in 2017 proved invaluable for the players in the build-up to the World Cup and it’s important that we do all we can to enable them to spend quality time together in an international environment.”

England Rugby League Elite Performance Squad:

Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers)

Mike McMeeken (Castleford Tigers)

Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants)

Scott Taylor (Hull FC)

Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos)

Stevie Ward (Leeds Rhinos)

Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos)

Jonny Lomax (St Helens)

Tommy Makinson (St Helens)

Mark Percival (St Helens)

James Roby (St Helens)

Alex Walmsley (St Helens)

Tom Johnstone (Wakefield Trinity)

Kevin Brown (Warrington Wolves)

Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves)

Ben Currie (Warrington Wolves)

Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves)

Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves)

John Bateman (Wigan Warriors)

Sean O’Loughlin (Wigan Warriors)

George Williams (Wigan Warriors)

England Knights Performance Squad:

Greg Minikin (Castleford Tigers)

Jake Trueman (Castleford Tigers)

Kruise Leeming (Huddersfield Giants)

Josh Bowden (Hull FC)

Jake Connor (Hull FC)

Dean Hadley (Hull FC)

Masimbaashe Matongo (Hull FC)

Jamie Shaul (Hull FC)

Chris Atkin (Hull KR)

Liam Sutcliffe (Leeds Rhinos)

Jack Walker (Leeds Rhinos)

James Cunningham (London Broncos)

Niall Evalds (Salford Red Devils)

Danny Richardson (St Helens)

Luke Thompson (St Helens)

Reece Lyne (Wakefield Trinity)

Jack Hughes (Warrington Wolves)

Tom Gilmore (Widnes Vikings)

Danny Walker (Widnes Vikings)

Matt Whitley (Widnes Vikings)

Joe Burgess (Wigan Warriors)

Tom Davies (Wigan Warriors)

Oliver Gildart (Wigan Warriors)

Sam Powell (Wigan Warriors)

Ryan Sutton (Wigan Warriors)