Sam Wood named in England squad as Shaun Wane gears up for France international

Sam Wood has been called up to the England squad for the first time.
-Credit: (Image: SW Pix)

Sam Wood has been included in England’s squad ahead of Saturday’s mid-season international against France in Toulouse. The Castleford Tigers outside back, who joined the club ahead of 2024, is one of several new faces in Shaun Wane’s side.

As Rugby League Live revealed this Monday morning, Hull KR forward Elliot Minchella is called up and in contention for a first cap. Elsewhere, Wigan hooker Brad O’Neil is selected as well as St Helens prop George Delaney, Huddersfield Giants forward Oliver Wilson, and Leeds Rhinos back-rower James McDonnell.

McDonnell and Wilson come into the squad after featuring for the England Academy side against the Australian Schoolboys back in 2018. McDonnell, along with Delaney, also featured for England Knights against Scotland in 2022.

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Among England’s new talent are some regular faces, including captain George Williams. The Wire half-back is joined by club teammates Ben Currie, James Harrison, and Matty Nicholson.

Wigan are also well presented. As well as O’Neil, Wigan trio Tyler Dupree, Harry Smith, and Luke Thompson are included while Delaney is met by Saints teammates Matty Lees and Jack Welsby. Hull KR are also represented by Jez Litten and Mikey Lewis. Flying Leeds Rhinos and Catalans Dragons wingers Ash Handley and Tom Johnstone are also included.

No NRL based players have been selected for the mid-season international, with the likes of Victor Radley, Dom Young, Tom Burgess, et al, set to feature in the two-match autumn series against Samoa.

Speaking on his squad selection, Wane said. “I’m pleased with the squad we’ve brought together for this mid-season international and there is a strong balance between some more experienced international players and some newer faces to the England squad.

“All of the new players who have come into the squad have impressed me with their performances in Super League this season and have earned their spot in this England squad. Having travelled to face France back in 2021, we know they will offer us a stern test which is exactly what we need ahead of the two-game series against Samoa this Autumn.”

England Squad: Ben Currie (Warrington Wolves), George Delaney (St Helens), Tyler Dupree (Wigan Warriors), Ash Handley (Leeds Rhinos), James Harrison (Warrington Wolves), Tom Johnstone (Catalans Dragons), Matty Lees (St Helens), Mikey Lewis, Jez Litten (both Hull KR), James McDonnell (Leeds Rhinos), Elliot Minchella (Hull KR), Harry Newman (Leeds Rhinos), Matty Nicholson (Warrington Wolves), Brad O’Neill, Harry Smith, Luke Thompson (all Wigan Warriors), Jack Welsby (St Helens), George Williams (Warrington Wolves), Oliver Wilson (Huddersfield Giants), Sam Wood (Castleford Tigers)

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