England name World Cup squad with surprise inclusions

Shaun Wane has confirmed his 24-man squad for the World Cup.

Salford Red Devils duo Marc Sneyd and Andy Ackers have been called up for the first time after impressive seasons.

Young outside backs Dom Young, from Newcastle Knights, and Herbie Farnworth of Brisbane Broncos are also new faces, while Sydney Roosters forward Victor Radley is included after declaring for England.

Forwards Luke Thompson, Elliott Whitehead and Tom Burgess complete a six-man NRL contingent.

Experienced England campaigners Chris Hill and Mike Cooper are included alongside younger front-rowers Matty Lees and Mikolaj Oledzki.

Ackers and Catalans Dragons’ Michael McIlorum are the two hooker options, while Sneyd will compete with St Helens’ Jack Welsby and George Williams of Warrington Wolves for the halfback positions.

Kallum Watkins and the uncapped Kai Pearce-Paul are likely to contend the centre positions alongside Farnworth, while Ryan Hall and Tommy Makinson join Young as wingers.

John Bateman, Joe Batchelor, Morgan Knowles and Mike McMeeken add to the back-row options.

Fullback Sam Tomkins will captain the side, who face Samoa, France and Greece in Group A.

Wane is without a number of likely squad picks through injury including Alex Walmsley, Liam Farrell, Harry Newman, Jonny Lomax and Mark Percival.

Wane said: “After so many conversations with the players over the last two years, it’s exciting for all of us to be getting ready to go into camp for a home World Cup.

“The mood of the players and staff is fantastic. The opening match against Samoa in Newcastle is going to be a massive occasion, and I know English Rugby League fans and the sporting public will get behind us.”

England squad: Sam Tomkins (Catalans Dragons), Andy Ackers (Salford Red Devils), Joe Batchelor (St Helens), John Bateman (Wigan Warriors), Tom Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Mike Cooper (Wigan Warriors), Herbie Farnworth (Brisbane Broncos), Ryan Hall (Hull KR), Chris Hill (Huddersfield Giants), Morgan Knowles, Matty Lees, Tommy Makinson (all St Helens), Michael McIlorum, Mike McMeeken (both Catalans Dragons), Mikolaj Oledzki (Leeds Rhinos), Kai Pearce-Paul (Wigan Warriors), Victor Radley (Sydney Roosters), Marc Sneyd (Salford Red Devils), Luke Thompson (Canterbury Bulldogs), Kallum Watkins (Salford Red Devils), Jack Welsby (St Helens), Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders), George Williams (Warrington Wolves), Dom Young (Newcastle Knights).