ENGLAND Knights coach Keiron Purtill has made six changes to the squad that defeated France last week for tomorrow’s clash against Cumbria at Whitehaven’s Recreation Ground (3.00pm).
The Knights won their first ever fixture last Saturday in some style, defeating France 38-18, but Purtill has resisted the temptation to stick with a winning team.
“We’ve made a few changes to the squad to face Cumbria and brought in a few fresh bodies,” said Purtill. “We know Cumbria will be coming out to give us a tough game and we want to be firing on all cylinders.
“Cumbrians are very passionate about Rugby League and when we visited a few local schools in the area today it was clear to see just how much the people of the area enjoy the sport.
“We’re just as passionate about representing England and we want to create a legacy as the first ever Knights team and win every game we play in. Playing for your country is the highest honour you can achieve and these guys all want to stake their claim for a place in the senior side so they’ll be going out ready to match whatever comes at them.
“We had a good win against France and it’s always good to get that first victory under your belt but we won’t be resting on our laurels.
“Steve McNamara has told these players that there is a chance for Four Nations representation if anyone in the senior squad gets injured or withdraws so it means a lot to everyone involved. We’ll be cheering on the lads in Avignon tonight but we’re fully focused on the game to come tomorrow as well.”
After steering the side to victory over France, Hull FC’s Joe Westerman has retained the captain’s role and he is joined in the starting 13 by St Helens duo Scott Moore and Paul Clough, Leeds Rhinos players Zak Hardaker and Chris Clarkson along with Warrington’s Chris Riley and Harlequins player Luke Gale.
England Knights 17-Man Squad to face Cumbria
1, Chris Riley (Warrington Wolves, Woolston Rovers)
2, Josh Charnley (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Pats)
3, Zak Hardaker (Leeds Rhinos, Featherstone Lions)
4, Kris Welham (Hull KR, Myton Warriors)
5, Jodie Broughton (Salford City Reds, Queens)
6, Richie Myler (Warrington Wolves, Halton West Bank)
7, Luke Gale (Harlequins RL, Middleton Marauders)
8, Lee Mossop (Wigan Warriors, Hensingham)
9, Scott Moore (St Helens, Blackbrook)
10, Paul Clough (St Helens, Blackbrook)
11, Chris Clarkson (Leeds Rhinos, East Leeds)
12, Joe Westerman (C) (Hull FC, Featherstone Lions)
13, Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Pats)
14, Liam Watts (Hull KR, Featherstone Lions)
15, Matty Smith (Salford City Reds, Blackbrook)
16, James Donaldson (Bradford Bulls, Wath Brow Hornets)
17, Joe Arundel (Castleford Tigers, Castleford Panthers)