England Name Dragons Duo For Decider
St George Illawarra Dragons duo Mike Cooper and Gareth Widdop have been named fo this weekend's series decider against New Zealand.
England have made two changes from the 19-man squad they selected against New Zealand in their 9-2 defeat at the Olympic Stadium last Saturday.
Half-back Matty Smith is named in the squad alongside Huddersfield Giants winger Jermaine McGillvary. They replace Huddersfield’s Leroy Cudjoe and Warrington Wolves forward Ben Westwood ahead of this Saturday’s International Series decider against the Kiwis at a sell-out DW Stadium, Wigan, kick off 1.00pm.
Smith, who plays for Wigan Warriors, has not played for England since last autumn’s 16-14 defeat to New Zealand in Dunedin.
McGillvary, Super League’s leading try-scorer from the 2015 season, is hoping to make his England debut on Saturday.
Both Smith and McGillvary will be eager to secure their respective places in the final 17, which will be announced by Coach Steve McNamara 90 minutes before kick off on Saturday.
“We have had a great week with our preparation and the players are ready to take on a strong New Zealand side,” said McNamara.
“The players are well aware of the importance of the game and the improvements we have to make from our previous matches to give ourselves every chance of beating New Zealand.
“We will have to be at our best to win, but we’ll relish the pressure of playing against a quality team in front of a full house at Wigan.”
England 19-man squad to face New Zealand:
John Bateman (Wigan Warriors)
Joe Burgess (Wigan Warriors)
Thomas Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Mike Cooper (St George Illawarra Dragons)
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)
Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants)
Sean O’Loughlin, captain (Wigan Warriors)
James Roby (St Helens)
Matty Smith (Wigan Warriors)
Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos)
Elliott Whitehead (Catalans Dragons)
Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra Dragons)
George Williams (Wigan Warriors)