St George Illawarra Dragons duo Mike Cooper and Gareth Widdop have both been named in a 19-man English squad for this Saturday’s international against France at Leigh Sports Village, Leigh.
England Coach Steve McNamara has added four uncapped players including Wigan Warriors trio John Bateman, Joe Burgess and George Williams. Dragons forward Mike Cooper, who toured with England last year to New Zealand and Australia, could also be in line to make his international debut.
“The players have trained well all week and we are ready to take on France,” said McNamara.
“We have healthy competition for places across all areas. The players are aware of this and continue to put in the effort in training to make sure they are prepared and ready for what should be a thrilling game.
“We know what this French side is capable of. They're a very passionate team on the pitch and have plenty of talent in their group.”
The 19-man squad features 5 current NRL players while former Warriors full-back Sam Tomkins will miss the match after failing to fully recover from a knee injury. Tomkins, who is returning to the English Super League with Wigan, is expected to be fit for the series opener against New Zealand on November 1.
England 19-man squad to face France:
John Bateman (Wigan Warriors)
Joe Burgess (Wigan Warriors)
Thomas Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Mike Cooper (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Leroy Cudjoe (Newsome Panthers)
Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors)
Brett Ferres (Huddersfield Giants)
James Graham (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs)
Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos)
Zak Hardaker (Leeds Rhinos)
Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves)
Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders)
Sean O’Loughlin, captain (Wigan Warriors)
James Roby (St Helens)
Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos)
Ben Westwood (Warrington Wolves)
Elliott Whitehead (Catalans Dragons)
Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra Dragons)
George Williams (Wigan Warriors)
This article first appeared on England RL