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Why England Knights RL have incentive to shine on tour

Shining example: Wakefield's Reece Lyne.
Shining example: Wakefield's Reece Lyne.
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ENGLAND Knights head coach Paul Anderson has reminded his players of chances that may arise if they impress on the forthcoming trip to Papua New Guinea.

He named his 24-man squad yesterday for the tour which departs later this month and starts with a week-long training camp in Brisbane before two Tests against the Kumuls.

The Knights – who have not played since 2013 – were revived earlier this year by the Rugby Football League, at the instigation of Kevin Sinfield in his role as rugby director.

Developing the next raft of potential internationals, it is seen as a key part of England’s preparations for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

Former Huddersfield Giants chief Anderson said: “When you add it to the England squad that was named earlier this week for the autumn internationals, it shows we’ve got a real depth of talent coming through.

“Playing in Papua New Guinea is going to be a completely different experience for all the players in our squad.

We’re expecting a warm welcome in a country where they love their rugby league, and, hopefully, our visit will also be a boost for rugby league in PNG.

Paul Anderson

“That off-field touring experience is one of the reasons reviving the Knights was so important.

“We’re expecting a warm welcome in a country where they love their rugby league, and, hopefully, our visit will also be a boost for rugby league in PNG.

“The lads have already seen from the elevation of Joe Greenwood and Reece Lyne from the Knights squad to the senior England squad the sort of opportunities that could open up if they impress on this trip.”

Wigan Warriors second-row Greenwood and Wakefield Trinity centre Lyne were initially named in the Knights training group in July but were promoted on Monday to the full squad that faces France and New Zealand.

Leeds Rhinos boast four players in Anderson’s squad – Jack Walker, Ash Handley, Liam Sutcliffe and Mikolaj Oledzki – while Hull FC have Jamie Shaul, Brad Fash and Dean Hadley.

Castleford Tigers are represented by Oli Holmes and Greg Minkin although Jake Trueman has withdrawn through injury.

Hull KR have Chris Atkin and Robbie Mulhern in there while Wakefield Trinity’s James Batchelor and Huddersfield Giants’ Kruise Leeming are other Yorkshire representatives.

Knights will be captained by former Huddersfield second-row Jack Hughes (Warrington).

England Knights: Holmes, Minikin (both Castleford), Leeming (Huddersfield), Atkin, Mulhern (both Hull KR), Shaul, Hadley, Fash (all Hull FC), Oledzki, Sutcliffe, Walker, Handley (all Leeds), Richardson, Lees (both St Helens), Batchelor (Wakefield), Powell, Gildart, Davies (all Wigan), Livett, Hughes, Philbin, King (all Warrington), Whitley, Walker (both Widnes).