England revealed their 20-man squad to face Samoa on May 6th on Monday, with a number of surprise inclusions and exclusions.
Here are all the details surrounding the squad.
The 20-man squad
Sam Burgess, Thomas Burgess, Luke Gale, James Graham, Ryan Hall, Zak Hardaker, Chris Heighington, Chris Hill, Josh Hodgson, Jermaine McGillvary, Mike McMeeken, Chris McQueen, Sean O’Loughlin (C), Mark Percival, Scott Taylor, Alex Walmsley, Kallum Watkins, Elliott Whitehead, Gareth Widdop, George Williams.
The ins and outs
Ten members of England’s 24-man Four Nations squad do not feature in this cut-down 20-man team.
A number of them, such as John Bateman, Mike Cooper and Jonny Lomax, are all injured. But the rest have missed out as Bennett has decided to select other players. Warrington’s Kevin Brown and Daryl Clark are two of the notable absentees, while others to miss out are George Burgess, who has recently been playing reserve grade in Australia, along with Liam Farrell, Brett Ferres, Stefan Ratchford and Dan Sarginson.
Six players have been called-up to the squad, with three of them being selected for the first time.
St Helens’ Alex Walmsley and Castleford’s Mike McMeeken are in the squad for the first time, as is Australian Chris McQueen, the 29-year-old Gold Coast star who is eligible through his English father.
The three other players to be recalled include another Australian in the shape of Cronulla’s Chris Heighington, who features for the first time since 2011, along with Zak Hardaker and Sean O’Loughlin.
Who is the captain?
It has been confirmed that O’Loughlin has regained the captaincy from Sam Burgess after missing the Four Nations through injury.
Slammin’ Sam was appointed as captain for last year’s tournament, but Wigan’s captain will now return to leading England out too for the game against Samoa.
How does it effect Super League fixtures?
All players selected will be unavailable for next week’s Super League fixtures. Castleford are the worst affected, with three of their players, Luke Gale, Zak Hardaker and Mike McMeeken, now unavailable to face Huddersfield a week on Thursday. Leeds, St Helens and Wigan will all be without two players for their respective games.