Leeds Rhinos and Huddersfield Giants youngsters primed for swift England Knights call-ups

TEENAGE Leeds Rhinos centre Harry Newman is set to earn promotion to the England Knights squad along with Huddersfield Giants prop Olly Wilson.

Leeds Rhinos' Harry Newman in action against London Broncos at Magic Weekend (Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)
Leeds Rhinos' Harry Newman in action against London Broncos at Magic Weekend (Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

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However, such has been their progress since, it is understood both will be named in Paul Anderson revised Knights’ squad when it is announced tomorrow morning.

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Newman, 19, has been a revelation for Leeds this term, scoring eight tries in 16 appearances since making his debut in March.

Huddersfield Giants' Kruise Leeming with Leeds Rhinos trio Cameron Smith, Mikolaj Oledzki and Jack Walker flying the flag for England Knights.

Indeed, his fine form meant Rhinos had no issues allowing captain Kallum Watkins to leave early and join Gold Coast Titans last month.

Huddersfield, meanwhile, paid a significant fee to buy Wilson from Bradford Bulls in April and he made an impressive Super League debut in the win at Salford Red Devils recently.

Both youngsters will now bid to continue their impressive development and force their way into Anderson’s thinking for the Knights game against Jamaica at Emerald Headingley on Sunday October 20 (3pm).

That historic fixture - confirmed earlier this evening - will serve as an important part of both countries’ build-up to the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

Huddersfield Giants' Michael Lawerence (left) and Jordan Turner (centre) with Bradford Bulls' Ross Peliter geared up for Jamaica duty against England Knights.

Jamaica, who have Leeds-born rugby legend Jason Robinson as one of their tournament operations directors, made history last autumn by beating USA to secure their first-ever World Cup appearance.

Wakefield Trinity winger Ben Jones-Bishop and Rhinos full-back Ashton Golding are some of the Super League players who have represented the Reggae Warriors and more with Jamaican heritage are now joining the ranks including Huddersfield Giants duo Jordan Turner and Michael Lawrence.

The fixture against the Knights will provide high-quality international experience for their team at one of the host venues for RLWC2021 but also a platform for them to connect with the hundreds of thousands of British Jamaicans, the second-largest Jamaican population outside the island itself.

The Knights were re-established last year as part of the RFL’s England Performance Unit, playing their first two matches since 2013 on a short tour to Papua New Guinea last autumn.

Kevin Sinfield, the RFL’s Rugby Director who leads that EPU, said: “This is a fixture that works on so many levels, and I hope it will capture the imagination of rugby league supporters and Jamaicans in Leeds, Yorkshire and well beyond.

“The Knights are an important part of the EPU as we build towards hosting the World Cup in 2021, and it was a priority to find them meaningful competition again this autumn after the unique experiences they gained in Papua New Guinea last year.

“The way the Jamaica team has developed over the last few years to reach the World Cup has already been a bit of a rugby league fairytale, and it’s great that the Knights can help them with their preparations for RLWC2021.”

Eight members of the first Knights Performance Squad that was announced in May 2018 have already earned promotion to the senior England set-up to make Test debuts.

Jamaica coach Jermaine Coleman grew up as a member of Leeds’ Jamaican community and played for Hunslet earlier in his career.

He is now London Skolars coach and said: “This is an exciting opportunity for us as team.

“The effort that has gone into the journey so far has been unbelievable.

“We have a fantastic group of people involved with the team both on and off the field. We see this as our first steps in our preparation to the World Cup.

“The England Knights will be an excellent team full of Super League quality from one to 17 so the step up for us is going to be a challenge.

“The one thing this group does better than anything is rise to challenges so we can’t wait for this game opportunity.”