Talking points from Wayne Bennett’s England squad to play Samoa

Which half-back will play from the bench: or even miss out?

Three into two just does not go. Gareth Widdop, George Williams and Luke Gale have all been picked for the Samoa game – but one of them will find themselves on the bench at best, or out of the side at worst. Widdop’s early-season form in the NRL looks to have him in pole position for a spot – although Williams and Gale have also done well at club level so far in 2017. It’s a tough call for Bennett to make.

Is Chris McQueen cover for the outside backs?

McQueen’s selection is perhaps the most controversial of all – but a quick look at the squad suggests he could well be cover for the centres. It’s a position he is familiar with and he has played before – and with Kallum Watkins and Mark Percival the only recognised centres in the 20-man group, McQueen’s role may well be pushing those two for a starting spot in the run-up to the Test.

How do you fit Sean O’Loughlin and Sam Burgess into one side?

Sam Burgess was an obvious fit for England’s 13 shirt last year – but with the Wigan captain Sean O’Loughlin back in – and back in as captain – it looks difficult to fit them both in. Burgess is extremely versatile and can play anywhere in the pack, but with so much ability in the front row already, if we are to assume they will both play given their importance to the team, where do they both feature?

Is Wayne Bennett hinting at his plans for the hooking department at the World Cup?

There’s no Daryl Clark, no Danny Houghton (although he’s injured) – with Josh Hodgson the only hooker in the 20-man squad. So with that in mind, is Wayne Bennett having a look at potentially going with just one hooker at the World Cup this year? Clark will undoubtedly travel barring injury or a dramatic drop in form, but with only Hodgson featuring against Samoa, it could be Bennett is planning for a one-hooker policy in the long-term.