Wane names 19-strong squad for Tonga challenge

Jack Welsby to become England’s youngest-ever captain

England Head Coach Shaun Wane has named his 19-strong squad to face Tonga in the opening match of a historic three-game autumn international series at St Helens’ Totally Wicked Stadium this Sunday (KO2.30pm).

The side will be led by St Helens full-back and three-time Super League Dream Team player Jack Welsby – at 22 years of age England’s youngest-ever captain and the first Saints player to lead England since James Graham against Australia in the 2010 Four Nations competition.

Hull KR half-back Mikey Lewis is set to make his international debut after an impressive season during which he helped the Robins reach both the Betfred Challenge Cup Final at Wembley and the Betfred Super League play-off semi-finals. Lewis was previously part of the mid-season international squad but didn’t feature back in April against France.

Harry Newman could also earn his first full international cap on Sunday. The Leeds Rhinos centre previously represented England Knights in a 2018 victory over Jamaica, but a succession of injuries have since prevented him from making the international grade at senior level.

Betfred Super League Grand Finalist and Steve Prescott Man of Steel nominee Tom Johnstone is selected after a season which saw him score 28 tries in all competitions for Catalans Dragons. Johnstone crossed for a hat-trick in his most recent – and only – England outing against France at the Leigh Sports Village in 2018.

Daryl Clark could also return to the England side for the first time since 2018, whilst fellow Warrington Wolves hooker Danny Walker is also named following his England debut against France earlier in the year.

Leigh Leopards forward Robbie Mulhern also featured in the 44-8 win over France five years ago and is named in Wane’s 19-player squad for Sunday’s clash.

Head Coach Shaun Wane says:

“I’m really pleased and confident with the squad I’ve selected for this opening fixture against Tonga. We’ve had a strong week since arriving in camp and we are heading into this weekend focused with a job to do. We hope that the fans will turn out in their numbers to help us over the line.”

George Williams misses out serving the first of a two-game suspension, whilst Dom Young is ruled out through injury.

England Squad v Tonga – Sunday 22 October, 230pm, Totally Wicked Stadium

John Bateman (Wests Tigers), Tom Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves), Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors), Chris Hill (Huddersfield Giants), Tom Johnstone (Catalans Dragons), Toby King (Wigan Warriors), Morgan Knowles, Matty Lees (both St Helens), Mikey Lewis (Hull KR), Tommy Makinson (St Helens), Mike McMeeken (Catalans Dragons), Robbie Mulhern (Leigh Leopards), Harry Newman (Leeds Rhinos), Victor Radley (Sydney Roosters), Harry Smith (Wigan Warriors), Danny Walker (Warrington Wolves), Jack Welsby (St Helens), Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders)

This historic series – the first between the two nations and their first meeting since the epic 2017 World Cup semi-final in Auckland – will see England host Tonga this Sunday at St Helens’ Totally Wicked Stadium, before meetings at Huddersfield’s John Smith’s Stadium (Saturday 28 October) and at Headingley Stadium, Leeds, on Saturday 4 November. All games will kick off at 2.30pm. Tickets are on sale at eticketing.co.uk/rugbyleague from £25 Adults and £12.50 Under 16s. A three-match bundle is also available from £52.50 Adults and £26.25 Under 16s. Those looking to book 10 tickets or more can save 30% on single matches, with prices from £17.50 for Adults and £8.75 for under 16s – available now via the Groups Sales team at groups@rlcommercial.co.uk or 0844 856 1115.