George Williams one of three players retained in England squad to face France

By Sports Desk April 25, 2023

Only three players who featured in England’s World Cup campaign have been named in Shaun Wane’s 19-strong squad for Saturday’s mid-season international against France in Warrington.

As many as 15 players could earn their first caps in the fixture, as Wane refocuses on building a young squad capable of going beyond last year’s semi-final heartbreak at the next tournament in France in 2025.

Jack Welsby, George Williams and Kai Pearce-Paul are the only survivors who featured for England last year, while Warrington second row Ben Currie – who played in the 2017 World Cup – has been recalled to the squad.

? Ready to face @FFRXIII.

??????? #EnglandRL Head Coach Shaun Wane has named a new-look 19-player squad for Saturday’s mid-season international at @WarringtonRLFC…

— England Rugby League (@England_RL) April 25, 2023

Head coach Wane said: “It was always my intention to pick a young squad for this mid-season game and I am really happy with the final 19 I’ve selected.

“All of these players have been picked based on their form in the Betfred Super League and with an eye on the next Rugby League World Cup in France in 2025.

“I am excited to see how some of these lads go on the international stage and it’s a massive privilege to be able to give them the opportunity to represent our country.”

Warrington are rewarded for their fine start to the Betfred Super League season with seven players in the squad, as Williams and Currie are joined by Matty Ashton, James Harrison, Matty Nicholson, Josh Thewlis and Danny Walker.

Six Wigan players are named with Pearce-Paul joined by Ethan Havard, Toby King – who played for Ireland in last year’s World Cup – Harry Smith, Morgan Smithies and Jake Wardle.

England cruised to a 42-18 win over France in the second round of their World Cup campaign in Bolton in October.

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