Lachlan Coote has been named as Great Britain's number one whilst Luke Thompson, Alex Walmsley and Jonny Lomax have also been included in the initial squad for the clash with our incoming Head Coach, Kristian Woolf's Tonga Invitational XIII on Saturday.
Coote has been handed the number one shirt which suggests he will make his Lions’ debut against Woolf’s Tonga on Saturday at full back whilst Thompson has been named as the number 10. Saints’ Lomax and Walmsley are numbers 16 and 17 respectively which suggests they may well start on the bench on Saturday.
🔵 Your 2️⃣0️⃣1️⃣9️⃣ Great Britain Rugby League Lions 🔴
— Rugby Football League 🇬🇧🦁 (@TheRFL) October 21, 2019
Former Saint, James Graham is set to join one of Rugby League’s most exclusive clubs when he leads out Great Britain against the Tonga Invitational XIII in Hamilton.
The 34-year-old Liverpudlian prop is the only member of the 2019 Rugby League Lions to have played previously for Great Britain, having won his first five international caps wearing the blue and red V in 2006-7.
Since then, he has earned a further 44 caps for England – meaning he will win his 50th international cap this weekend.
Graham will become only the fourth British player in the history of Rugby League to reach a half century – following Jim Sullivan, Mick Sullivan and Adrian Morley.
They were joined last autumn by the former New Zealand captain Ruben Wiki, and the Australian trio of Darren Lockyer, Cameron Smith and Petero Civoniceva – who also represented Fiji – as the seven players to be awarded Golden Caps by the Rugby League International Federation in recognition of their achievement in winning 50 international caps. Now Graham is set to become the eighth recipient of a Golden Cap.
The game against the Tonga Invitational XIII – Great Britain’s first appearance on the international Rugby League stage since 2007, and the start of a four-match tour which continues with two Tests against New Zealand and one against Papua New Guinea – was confirmed as having full international status at last week’s meeting of International Rugby League in Sydney.
Great Britain and the Tongans have each submitted an initial squad to the tournament organisers, which must be reduced to 19 on Friday morning UK time – 24 hours before the match.
Soon to arrive Saints coach, Kristian Woolf has included Salford stand-off Tui Lolohea, Warrington forward Ben Murdoch-Masila, Leeds centre Konrad Hurrell and Hull-bound enforcer Manu Ma’u, as well as a host of stars of their run to the semi finals of the 2017 World Cup such as Michael Jennings and Jason Taumalolo in his squad.
- Lachlan Coote (Windsor Wolves, St Helens)
- Jermaine McGillvary (Deighton Juniors, Huddersfield Giants)
- Zak Hardaker (Featherstone Lions, Wigan Warriors)
- Oliver Gildart (Wigan St Patricks, Wigan Warriors)
- Ryan Hall (Oulton Raiders, Sydney Roosters)
- Gareth Widdop (Kings Cross, St George Illawarra Dragons)
- Jackson Hastings (Western Suburbs Red Devils, Salford Red Devils)
- Chris Hill (New Springs Lions, Warrington Wolves)
- Josh Hodgson (East Hull, Canberra Raiders)
- Luke Thompson (Bold Miners, St Helens)
- John Bateman (Bradford Dudley Hill, Wigan Warriors)
- Elliott Whitehead (West Bowling, Canberra Raiders)
- James Graham (c) (Thatto Heath, St George Illawarra Dragons)
- Josh Jones (Blackbrook, Salford Red Devils)
- Tom Burgess (Dewsbury Moor, South Sydney Rabbitohs)
- Jonny Lomax (Orrell St James, St Helens)
- Alex Walmsley (Dewsbury Celtic, St Helens)
- Jake Connor (Siddal, Hull FC)
- Jack Hughes (Golborne Parkside, Warrington Wolves)
- George Williams (Wigan St Patricks, Wigan Warriors)
- Daryl Clark (Fryston Warriors, Warrington Wolves)
— St.Helens R.F.C. (@Saints1890) October 22, 2019
Tonga Invitational XIII:
- Will Hopoate
- David Fusitu’a
- Michael Jennings
- Kotoni Staggs
- Daniel Tupou
- Tuimoala Lolohea
- Ata Hingano
- Andrew Fifita
- Siliva Havili
- Sio Siua Taukeiaho ©
- Ben Murdoch-Masila
- Manu Ma’u
- Jason Taumalolo ©
- Sione Katoa
- Addin Fonua-Blake
- John Asiata
- Sitili Tupouniua
- Junior Tatola
- Konrad Hurrell
- Tesi Niu