ENGLAND Knights coach Kieron Purtill is confident that his young charges will rise to the challenge when they face Samoa at Salford City Stadium on Saturday (2pm).
Tom Makinson and Josh Jones have both been selected in the side.
“We’ve had a great period of preparation and the boys are really fired up for this game,” said Purtill. “It’s been quite a challenge for us this year: we have had our biggest turnaround in terms of new faces and the squad has come together really quickly.
“The players have worked really hard and the level of commitment has never been higher: I’m sure they will do a great job on Saturday.
“The physical challenge is going to be massive for us because Samoa are a big team and technically we know we will have to be at our best against opponents who are preparing for the World Cup.
“We know what we have to do and are not short of confidence: the players know they are in the Knights squad because of their talent, skill and ability and that that is part of their career pathway.
“Rugby League is a tough game and injuries are a fact of life. The Knights players are the back-up for England’s World Cup squad and the game is a chance for them to show they are ready to step in should they be needed.”
The Knights made one change to their squad this week with the late withdrawal of Hull FC prop Liam Watts with a shoulder injury. Watts is replaced by club-mate Josh Bowden, who starts on the bench.
1. Tommy Makinson; 2. Iain Thornley, 3. Josh Jones, 4. Zak Hardaker, 5. Ben Cockayne; 6. Daniel Sarginson, 7. Sam Powell; 8. Tom Burgess, 9. Josh Hodgson, 10. Scott Taylor, 11. Brett Ferres, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Dominic Crosby.
Subs: 14. Chris Green, 15. Jack Hughes, 16. Michael Lawrence, 17. Kieran Dixon, 18. Brad Singleton, 19. Josh Bowden, 20. Logan Tomkins.
In partnership with Salford-based social landlord City West Housing Trust, children aged 16 and under accompanied by an adult can attend England v Italy (4.30pm) and England Knights v Samoa (2.00pm) for free on Saturday October 19 at Salford City Stadium.
Adult tickets cost £15 and £5 for concessions. To take advantage of the kids go free offer and to purchase tickets call 0844 856 1113 or visit www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk for further information.