St. Helens' Academy players Leon Cowen, Owen Dagnall, Harry Robertson, Dayon Sambou, and Jonny Vaughan will play for England Academy on Saturday (8th July) against France!
England Academy Head Coach Paul Anderson has named his squad to take on the French side in Saint-Gaudens.
The team featuring five Saints – the most from any Academy side – includes back-rower Jonny Vaughan, who is also named captain.
Speaking about the honour of being named the captain, Vaughan said: “It’s been a surreal experience, being in such a professional environment then being named captain. I played for Blackbrook in St Helens which has produced the likes of James Roby and it’s an honour to be following in the footsteps of players like him. You feel like you don’t deserve it.
“We have a good set of lads and we’ve gelled really well as a squad, to the point that it doesn’t matter who plays for what club, who plays for Lancashire or Yorkshire. We all know that this is a big opportunity for us, and there’s a lot of enthusiasm and a real drive to win.”
Paul Anderson added ahead of the game: “The players I’ve selected are a real credit to their clubs and how they develop their players. It’s a tough call on the four squad players not included in the 17 – they are first choice players back at their clubs.
“It’s going to be hot and humid in the south of France, and the French will be physical and intimidating. But we’re going there to win.
“The whole Academy programme is massive and in our preparation for this game we’ve tried to reflect the senior environment and everything that goes with it – being in camp, how we train, looking at how players handle being in this type of environment. We’re developing potential senior England players of the future and Shaun Wane’s presence at the team’s shirt presentation this week shows how much he values the programme.”
England Academy team
- Harry Robertson (St Helens)
- Owen Dagnall (St Helens)
- Dayon Sambou (St Helens)
- Jack Smith (Leeds Rhinos)
- Neil Tchamambe (Leeds Rhinos)
- Jack Charles (Hull FC)
- Jack Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos)
- Ryan Brown (Wigan Warriors)
- Harvey Smith (Wakefield Trinity)
- Kian McDermott (Wigan Warriors)
- Nolan Tupaea (Warrington Wolves)
- Jonny Vaughan (St Helens, Capt.)
- Taylor Kerr (Wigan Warriors)
- Thomas Ratchford (Wigan Warriors)
- Joe Bajer (Warrington Wolves)
- Leon Cowen (St Helens)
- Cobie Wainhouse (Hull FC)
- Louix Gorman (Hull KR)
Head Coach Paul Anderson is supported by Assistant Coaches Shane Eccles (Wigan Warriors) and Rob Nickolay (Castleford Tigers). The French ‘Espoirs’ (Under 19s) are coached by the former Catalans Dragons and Sydney Roosters forward Rémi Casty, now assistant coach at Toulouse Olympique.