England Academy name squad to face France
England Academy coach Dave Elliott has named a 20-man squad for the international against France Under-18s in La Reoule, France, on Saturday May 25.
The Academy will cross the Channel for a match against their French counterparts in their first competitive fixture since the 2012 tour of Australia and Elliott has retained eight players from that trip in his squad.
George Williams, Joe Burgess, Lewis Tierney, Ryan Hampshire and Ryan Sutton of Wigan Warriors are among the eight to return to the Academy fold from 2012 as part of an eight-strong Wigan contingent, with Leeds Rhinos providing four players, Bradford Bulls three, Huddersfield Giants two and Hull FC, St Helens and Warrington Wolves one each.
“This game is vital for the development of the players,” said Elliott. “I think we’ve seen over the past 12 months how important this type of fixture is for them and the challenges that come from playing France, in France, are massive for the whole group.
“We found out in Australia last year that travel, food and different cultures posed difficulties for some of the lads and this type of game against France exposes them to that as well. It’s a learning experience for everyone and introduces the players to what they will experience in the senior environment in Super League and internationally.
“On the pitch we know France will be strong and very physical. France have openly said that this is their best age group and the majority of their players are coming through some good systems at Catalan Dragons so it will be a big test.
“But I think the squad of players we have are strong both mentally and physically and they have a lot of experience between them. I’m confident they can use that experience and their skills to get a good result over there.”
England Academy squad (professional and community clubs in brackets):
Alex Mellor (Bradford Bulls, Castleford Panthers)
Ben Austin (Wigan Warriors, Ince Rose Bridge)
Bobby Tyson Wilson (Hull FC, West Hull)
Elliot Minchella (Leeds Rhinos, Siddal)
George Williams (Wigan Warriors, Ince Rose Bridge)
Jack Miller (Huddersfield Giants, Smallthorne Panthers)
Jake Connor (Huddersfield Giants, Siddal)
Joe Burgess (Wigan Warriors, Ince Rose Bridge)
Jordan Baldwinson (Leeds Rhinos, Hunslet Warriors)
Lewis Tierney (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Pats)
Liam Sutcliffe (Leeds Rhinos, Hunslet Warriors)
Luke Thompson (St Helens, Pilkington Recs)
Nathan Conroy (Bradford Bulls, Bradford Dudley Hill)
Oliver Gildart (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Pats)
Oliver Roberts (Bradford Bulls, Siddal)
Rob Lever (Wigan Warriors, Pilkington Recs)
Ryan Hampshire (Wigan Warriors, Normanton Knights)
Ryan Sutton (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Pats)
Thomas Minns (Leeds Rhinos, Whinmoor Warriors)
Tom Walker (Warrington Wolves, Broughton Red Rose)