New faces in England squad for France clash

WIGAN hooker Brad O’Neill (pictured), St Helens prop George Delaney and Hull KR loose-forward Elliot Minchella are among the new faces in a 20-strong England squad for Saturday’s mid-season international against France in Toulouse.
Coach Shaun Wane has also called up Castleford centre Sam Wood, Huddersfield forward Oliver Wilson and Leeds pack man James McDonnell.
O’Neill, 21, has been increasingly influential for Wigan over recent seasons, helping the Warriors win all four available trophies – the League Leaders’ Shield, Super League title, World Club Challenge and Challenge Cup.
Ex-Leeds, Sheffield and Bradford player Minchella, 28, has also caught Wane’s eye, having helped Hull KR to both the Challenge Cup final and the Super League play-offs last season.
Rising star Delaney, 20, McDonnell, a 24-year-old Wigan product, and former Bradford player Wilson, 24, have come through the England Pathways programme.
McDonnell and Wilson featured when the England Academy side defeated Australia Schoolboys in 2018, while McDonnell and Delaney represented England Knights against Scotland in 2022.
Wood, 26, started out at Huddersfield and had two years at Hull JR before moving to Castleford ahead of this season.
Wane said: “I’m pleased with the squad we’ve brought together and there is a strong balance between some more experienced international players and some newer faces.
“All of the new players who have come into the squad have impressed me with their performances in the Betfred Super League this season and have earned their spot in this England squad.
“Having travelled to face France in 2021 (England won 30-10 in Perpignan), 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.”
Both England’s men and women’s sides meet France on Saturday, as the French Rugby League (FFR XIII) celebrates 90 years of the game in the republic.
Both matches will be streamed live from Stade Ernest Wallon on Super League+, Rugby League’s global, direct-to-consumer streaming service.
The kick-off times are 2.30pm BST (women) and 5pm BST (men).
SuperLeague+ is available online at, via the SuperLeague+ app on iOS and Android devices, and on connected TV platforms (Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV).
England men’s 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).