'It happens': England coach Shaun Wane brushes off loss of star names for France clash

England head coach Shaun Wane has brushed off the loss of a host of star names for Saturday's Test match against France, stressing that he is excited to see a young crop cut their teeth at international level.

Wane named an initial 40-man squad for the Halliwell Jones Stadium clash earlier this month but has seen his options limited by a raft of withdrawals.

Leeds Rhinos centre Harry Newman and St Helens half-backs Jonny Lomax and Lewis Dodd were among the high-profile names that withdrew from contention, leaving Wane with a 19-man group that features 15 uncapped players.

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When asked whether he was disappointed with the number of withdrawals, Wane replied: “No, no, definitely not. It happens.

"The start we've had in Super League has been really tough and the way teams have ripped in there are going to be injuries and that's what’s happened.

"But there’s an opportunity for some of these players. I'm genuinely excited, especially being with them the last few days.

"I’m glad I picked such a young squad and can’t wait for Saturday."

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St Helens had eight players in the original squad but only Jack Welsby will feature against France.

Shaun Wane during a training session. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)Shaun Wane during a training session. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)
Shaun Wane during a training session. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)

Wane accepts that the club are still coping with the effects of their World Club Challenge exertions.

"There’s a bit of everything, a bit of fatigue," he said.

"Paul Wellens is an England man. He’s worked with me, he knows me really well.

"They've had a tough start with travel and I know those guys are injured."

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While he concedes that more players would be available for a Super League game this weekend, Wane is convinced he has widespread backing.

"I wouldn’t expect there to be many (players miss Super League matches with their injuries)," he added.

"Every single Super League head coach, I’ve had meetings with them and all the CEOs, they have my trust and all want England to do well.

"The fact is crowds are through the roof in Super League and that's down to an OK World Cup with England. We know we could have done better and the aim is to do that at France 2025.

"But they know how important it is for England to do well."

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