Hull FC pair left out of Great Britain reckoning as Wayne Bennett makes initial cuts

England's Scott Taylor fends off Kiwis' Herman Ese'ese. (PIC: Allan McKenzie/
England's Scott Taylor fends off Kiwis' Herman Ese'ese. (PIC: Allan McKenzie/
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HULL FC duo Scott Taylor and Jamie Shaul have been left out of international plans for this autumn - but Warrington Wolves full-back Stefan Ratchford is the shock omission from Great Britain contention.

READ MORE: Castleford Tigers legend on 1999 heroics and Man of Steel fame
Less of a surprise is the absence of Stevie Ward, the Leeds Rhinos back-row who has played only two games in 2019 due to injury.

England coach Wayne Bennett (SWPix)

England coach Wayne Bennett (SWPix)

Given the competition in their positions, Hull prop Taylor and full-back Shaul were always going to find it tough making the 28-man training squad which has been named for the first Lions tour since 2006 but also includes players for England's World Cup Nines campaign and the England Knights fixture against Jamaica at Headingley on October 20.

Shaul made his England debut against France last autumn but - when it came to the Lions - was down the pecking order behind the likes of St Helens’ Australian-born Scotland international Lachlan Coote, Catalans Dragons’ Sam Tomkins and Ratchford.

Ratchford’s omission is a surprise, though, especially given his form for Warrington this term, his versatility and the fact he featured in England’s last outing against New Zealand.

Wolves team-mate Josh Charnley has also been left out suggesting Great Britain coach Wayne Bennett is likely to stick with his England regulars Tommy Makinson, Ryan Hall and Jermaine McGillvary when it comes to the Lions wing spots.

This current group includes 12 players from the Great Britain performance squad that was announced earlier this month and 16 from the Knights performance squad that was last revised in July.

Warrington's Australia-born stand-off Blake Austin - a Steve Prescott Man of Steel contender, like Coote - injured a knee in his club's last match of the season but is expected to be fit for the start of the Lions tour.

The group does not include players from the three teams still competing for the Super League title - Wigan, St Helens and Salford - or any of the NRL-based players such as Sydney Roosters’ Hall, Canberra Raiders’ Grand Finalists John Bateman, Josh Hodgson and Elliott Whitehead plus South Sydney’s Sam Burgess.

The squad will meet up this week for the first two of four sessions at the Manchester Institute of Health and Performance on Tuesday under England Knights head coach Paul Anderson and England pathways coach Paul Sculthorpe.

The four Castleford players - Knights duo Mike McMeeken and Greg Minikin and GB pair Jake Trueman and Liam Watts - have been given an additional week off to recover from their team's play-off defeat at Salford on Thursday.

England's 16-man squad for the inaugural World Cup Nines in Sydney will be announced next Sunday ahead of their departure on Saturday October 12.

The 24-man squad for the four-match Lions tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, which gets under way against Tonga in Hamilton on October 26, will be announced on Monday October 14 ahead of their departure for Sydney 48 hours later.

That group will attend the Nines and link up with those members of the England squad who have also been selected for Great Britain to fly on to Auckland on October 20.

Training group: M McMeeken, G Minikin, J Trueman, L Watts (Castleford), S Tomkins (Catalans Dragons), M English, K Leeming, J McGillvary, D McIntosh, O Wilson (Huddersfield), J Bowden, J Connor, M Matongo (Hull FC), C Atkin (Hull KR), A Handley, H Newman, M Oledzski, C Smith (Leeds), R Butler (London Broncos), R Lyne (Wakefield), B Austin, D Clark, C Hill, J Hughes, T King, T Lineham, J Philbin, D Walker (Warrington).