Wigan's Joe Greenwood has been switched to the England Knights Squad, with Warrington stand-off Blake Austin the only fresh face in a revised Elite Performance Squad.
Three Warriors stars, Oliver Gildart, Sean O’Loughlin and George Williams have retained their places ahead of the third meeting of the squad this year in early August, maintaining the focus on the 2021 Rugby League World Cup with a shorter-term goal of England’s participation in the Downer World Cup Nines in Sydney in October, before a Great Britain Performance Squad is selected in September.
Greenwood is one of four players to have dropped out from the first EPS of 2019 that was announced in March. Kallum Watkins, as a result of his move from Leeds to the Gold Coast, because the EPS does not include players from the NRL, Robbie Mulhern, and Castleford’s Adam Milner are the others.
Kevin Sinfield, the RFL’s Rugby Director who leads the England Performance Unit, said: “Blake Austin is a quality player but just as important is his commitment to joining our England squad.
“Unlike a few other guys who would qualify to play for Great Britain later this year through their ancestry from other Home Nations, he would make himself unavailable to play any representative rugby in Australia as soon as he plays for England, because England are a Tier One nation," he said.
“That is a good indication of his commitment to joining our group, and we believe he will be a very positive addition.
“It is a bit different this year with a Great Britain squad to be selected at the end of the season for the Rugby League Lions tour, but there is still a focus on England with the Nines, and after all the progress we’ve made since setting up the England Performance Unit after the last World Cup in 2017, it was important that we maintained that continuity through 2019 as we continue to work towards hosting RLWC 2021.”
England Rugby League Elite Performance Squad (all players listed with professional and community club)
Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers, Middleton Marauders)
Jake Trueman (Castleford Tigers, West Bowling)
Liam Watts (Castleford Tigers, Featherstone Lions)
Sam Tomkins (Catalans Dragons, Wigan St Patricks)
Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants, Deighton Juniors)
Jake Connor (Hull FC, Siddal)
Jamie Shaul (Hull FC, Skirlaugh)
Scott Taylor (Hull FC, Skirlaugh)
Stevie Ward (Leeds Rhinos, Hunslet Warriors)
Jonny Lomax (St Helens, Orrell St James)
Tommy Makinson (St Helens, Wigan St Judes)
Mark Percival (St Helens, Halton Farnworth Hornets)
James Roby (St Helens, Blackbrook)
Luke Thompson (St Helens, Bold Miners)
Alex Walmsley (St Helens, Dewsbury Celtic)
Tom Johnstone (Wakefield Trinity, Stanningley)
Reece Lyne (Wakefield Trinity, Ideal Isberg)
Blake Austin (Warrington Wolves, Doonside Roos)
Josh Charnley (Warrington Wolves, Wigan St Patricks)
Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves, Fryston Warriors)
Ben Currie (Warrington Wolves, Golborne Parkside)
Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves, New Springs Lions)
Jack Hughes (Warrington Wolves, Golborne Parkside)
Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves, Wigan St Patricks)
Oliver Gildart (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
Sean O’Loughlin (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
George Williams (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)