Leeds Rhinos halfback Luke Gale has joined a growing list of injured players ahead of Tuesday’s (tomorrow’s) England training session.
The former Castleford star was ruled out of the Rhinos’ Challenge Cup third-round defeat at St Helens by a broken thumb and now faces at least a month out of action.
His Leeds team-mates Ash Handley (knee) and Harry Newman (broken leg) are also under treatment, while Salford’s Dan Sarginson is nursing a rib problem.
St Helens’ Morgan Knowles is recovering from a broken thumb while Wakefield’s Tom Johnstone was forced off during the Challenge Cup clash with Catalans after taking a knock to the head for the second match running.
England coach Shaun Wane still wants sidelined players to attend the get-together at Leeds Beckett University.
“I don’t feel it fair to leave them out,” explained the former Wigan chief.
“They may not be able to join in the training, but they can still watch and listen.”
Wane insists form and fitness are the two top criteria for involvement in this Autumn’s World Cup.
He has named an unchanged 35-strong squad ahead of staging his first training session since taking the national team job in February 2020.
England get the World Cup underway when they face Samoa at St James’ Park, Newcastle on Saturday, October 23.
There is a mid-season international against the Combined Nations All Stars at Warrington on Friday, June 25.
Doncaster chief executive Carl Hall has been appointed team manager of the Tim Sheens-coached Combined Nations team.
Wane is also planning warm-up match immediately before the World Cup, in which his side will also face France and Greece in Group A.
And he insists there is plenty of scope for players not among the 35 initially selected back in November to force their way into his thinking.
Castleford’s Jake Trueman, Hull’s Jake Connor, Hull KR’s Ryan Hall and Warrington’s Gareth Widdop are among those who could come into consideration.
“A lot of players have impressed me over the first two rounds of Super League,” said Wane. “But I don’t see any need to make changes so soon into the season.
“It’s a long campaign, and I am ready to be fluid over selection based on the form players are in, and, of course, their fitness.
“I watch every Super League and NRL match multiples times, and my message to players is simple – if you want to play in the World Cup, then perform at club level.
“Names will come and go as the season unfolds, but the 35 players I’ve named reflect my current thinking.
“They are all capable of playing to an England standard. They know what’s expected at international level and the heights they must hit.”
Wane is looking forward to meeting up with 28 of them in Leeds, and will be in video contact with the seven who are playing in the NRL.
“There have been numerous individual and group video meetings, but nothing beats getting onto a field, working on drills and teaching,” he added.
“It is all about introducing players to my systems – how we’ll defend, how we’ll attack and so on. They are some of the best players around and they’ll get it very quickly.
“A lot of planning has gone into this session, because we need to be smart about using our limited time to best effect.”
On the NRL contingent, including Brisbane back Herbie Farnworth, Wane explained: “I’m obsessively conscious with ensuring NRL players get everything the UK players get.
“Videos of the session will be sent over and I will be speaking to all seven. It’s not ideal but we will make best of it.
“I don’t feel it fair to leave injured players out. They may not be able to join in the training, but they can still watch and listen.”
Squad: John Bateman (Wigan), Tom Burgess (South Sydney), Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie (all Warrington), Niall Evalds (Castleford), Herbie Farnworth (Brisbane), Liam Farrell (Wigan), Luke Gale (Leeds), Oliver Gildart (Wigan), Josh Griffin (Hull, Ash Handley (Leeds), Zak Hardaker (Wigan), Josh Hodgson (Canberra), Tom Johnstone (Wakefield), Toby King (Warrington), Morgan Knowles, Jonny Lomax (both St Helens), Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield), Paul McShane (Castleford), Tommy Makinson (St Helens), Dom Manfredi (Wigan), Harry Newman (Leeds), Mark Percival (St Helens), Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford (both Warrington), James Roby (St Helens), Dan Sarginson (Salford), Ryan Sutton (Canberra), Luke Thompson (Canterbury), Sam Tomkins (Catalans), Alex Walmsley (St Helens), Kallum Watkins (Salford), Elliott Whitehead, George Williams (both Canberra).
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