England make changes ahead of Exiles clash
Warrington Wolves utility player Stefan Ratchford and Salford City Reds duo Matty Smith and Jodie Broughton have been drafted into the England squad for the second game of the 2012 International Origin Series against the Exiles at the Galpharm Stadium on Wednesday July 4 (7.45pm).
England coach Steve McNamara has made five changes from the team that defeated the Exiles 18-10, in the opening game at Langtree Park last month.
Ryan Hall and Kevin Sinfield of Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors players Sam Tomkins and Sean O’Loughlin and Castleford Tigers Rangi Chase will sit out the game with McNamara opting to give some of his young squad members the opportunity to play representative Rugby League as he continues his preparation ahead of Rugby League World Cup 2013.
Alongside Ratchford, Smith and Broughton, St Helens half-back Jonny Lomax has earned a return to the senior squad and will come into contention with Smith and Huddersfield Giants scrum-half Danny Brough in a new-look half-back partnership.
“The second Exiles game gives me the opportunity to see some of the players that have been part of the Elite Training Squad and the England Knights programme in what should be a physical contest against a very good side,” said McNamara.
“Stefan (Ratchford), Matty (Smith) and Jodie (Broughton) were excellent for the Knights against Ireland last month and deserve their call up to the senior squad. I’m looking forward to seeing their next phase of development and how they adapt in the elite squad.”
With Jamie Peacock retiring from international Rugby League earlier this week, McNamara will decide his captain for the match when he announces his side next week and the England coach is no hurry to appoint a long-term successor to Peacock.
“I have a number of options in respect of the new captain for England and I’m in no hurry to make an announcement,” added McNamara.
“The captain I appoint for the Exiles game will be just for that game.
“I will keep an open mind and assess a number of factors before revealing who will take the team forward as our leader on the field. We have a number of strong candidates both here in the Super League and also from the England players playing in the NRL.”
The squad will meet up at their Leeds base on Sunday evening and McNamara will announce his team to face the Exiles on Monday.
England squad to face the Exiles at Galpharm Stadium, Wednesday July 4, kick off 7.45pm, in full is:
Tickets for the International Origin Series Game 2 fixture between England and the Exiles at Galpharm Stadium, Huddersfield, on Wednesday July 4 (7.45pm) cost from £21 (£10 concessions) and can be purchased through the RFL Ticket office on 0844 856 1113 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk.
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