THREE St Helens players have been named in the 21 man England Academy squad that will travel to France next month to take on the French Under 18 side on June 3.
Jordan Case (pictured), Josh Jones and Daniel Yates have been selected by Academy coach Dave Elliott to join four players from Warrington Wolves and three players from Leeds Rhinos and Wigan Warriors. Joining them will be two players from Hull FC, Harlequins RL and Bradford Bulls while Castleford Tigers and Widnes Vikings have one representative.
Elliott led the England Academy side to a series win over the Australian Schoolboys last year and more recently secured a series draw against France with the England Youth side and he believes that the current Academy squad is amongst the strongest sides he’s seen.
“The calibre of the players in the squad is fantastic,” said Elliott. “We’ve had to make some tough calls and we’re leaving some very talented players behind so it shows that the Academies are really working and the clubs are producing some genuinely talented players.
“There’s also a lot of confidence in the squad. The guys have gained a lot of confidence from the victory over the Australian Schoolboys last year and we still have seven or so lads who took part in that, so they know what it takes to win and what this level is all about.
“That success against Australia has also given these guys something to live up to. Players like Rhys Evans and Rhys Lyne have gone on from that experience to make their Super League debuts and now we need to put on another performance to back that series success up.
“That means there is some pressure on these players, but it’s a good pressure and one that we’re all looking forward to. We’re confident that we can go over there and play to our best and get the result we want. The French lads are always a bit of an unknown quantity at this level but we know they will be a big, strong and athletic units but we’re a confident side.”
England 21-man touring squad:
John Bateman (Bradford Bulls), Michael Bishay (Harlequins RL), Daniel Bridge (Wigan Warriors), Greg Burke (Wigan Warriors), Jordan Case (St Helens), Daryl Clark (Castleford Tigers), Ben Crookes (Hull FC), Ben Currie (Warrington Wolves), Rhys Evans (Warrington Wolves), Bobbie Goulding Jnr (Warrington Wolves), Josh Jones (St Helens), Reece Lyne (Hull FC), Adam O’Brien (Bradford Bulls), Jack Owens (Widnes Vikings), Matthew Russell (Wigan Warriors), Daniel Sarginson (Harlequins RL), Ryan Shaw (Warrington Wolves), Brad Singleton (Leeds Rhinos), Daniel Smith (Leeds Rhinos), Jared Stewart (Leeds Rhinos), Daniel Yates (St Helens).