England have named a 20-man squad to face the Australian Schoolboys in a two-game Autumn Academy International Series at Leigh Sports Village in December.
Eight Super League clubs are represented in the squad, which features four players from Wigan Warriors, four from Leeds Rhinos, three from Hull FC, three from Warrington Wolves, three from Huddersfield and one apiece from London Broncos, Widnes Vikings and St Helens.
England Academy coach Richard Marshall says some tough decisions were made when agreeing on the final 20 and is pleased to see so many clubs represented in the final squad.
“All coaches involved made the decision on the squad with an eye on the opposition and what we needed to compete against them,” said Marshall.
“Several players included were from outside of the initial 40-man squad, most notably Joe Keyes, Jordan Abdull, Liam Johnson and Sam Wilde. Their form and in some cases first team representation warranted inclusion.
“Players were selected from all over the country and it’s encouraging that so many different academies are included within the group.
“It’s our job to get them playing as a team and supporting each other throughout our camp. Ultimately our goal is for the players to push on to the Knights programme and then on to full representative honours.”
Marshall is expecting a physical test against the Australian Schoolboys in December but will be mainly looking at how the England squad comes together in camp and how they prepare themselves for the International Series.
“We expect them to be strong, professional and talented,” said the England Academy coach.
“We will be concentrating more on the England boys and how they handle being in camp and playing for their country. It’s a massive honour to play for your country and we hope they embrace this and enjoy the experience.
“We’ll come together in November to have good look at the players. Anyone who performs well in practice and shows passion, leadership and desire will be in with a good shout of making that final 17-man squad.
“We’re looking forward to the Autumn Academy International Series and at a time during the off-season when very few competitive games are being played we hope to get a passionate English crowd behind us.”
The Australian Schoolboys will begin their campaign on Wednesday November 26 (6.30pm) against a Combined Regional Select squad at Derwent Park, Workington, Cumbria.
Their full Australian Schoolboys tour schedule is as follows:
Wigan Warriors Academy v Australian Schoolboys, Saturday November 29 2014 (Solid Strip Community Stadium, Orrell, Wigan, 12.00pm)
Leeds Rhinos v Australian Schoolboys, Tuesday December 2 2014 (Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds, 7.00pm)
Autumn Academy International Series Game One, England v Australian Schoolboys, Saturday December 6 2014, (Leigh Sports Village, Leigh, 2.00pm)
Autumn Academy International Series Game Two, England v Australian Schoolboys, Friday December 12 (Leigh Sports Village, Leigh, 7.00pm)
The England squad for the 2014 Autumn Academy International Series is as follows (professional club and community club shown):
Ash Golding, Leeds Rhinos, Oulton Raiders
Ash Handley, Leeds Rhinos, Stanley Rangers
Callum Lancaster, Hull FC, East Hull
Elliot Minchella, Leeds Rhinos, West Bowling
Jack Johnson, Warrington Wolves, Saddleworth Rangers
Jake Shorrocks, Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks
Jansin Turgut, Hull FC, West Hull
Joe Keyes, London Broncos, Medway Dragons
Jordan Abdul, Hull FC, Skirlaugh
Liam Johnson, Huddersfield Giants, Newsome Panthers
Luke Waterworth, Wigan Warriors, Ince Rose Bridge
Mikey Wood, Huddersfield Giants, Slaithwaite Saracens
Nick Gregson, Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks
Oliver Davies, St Helens, Orrell St James
Oliver Gildart, Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks
Robbie Ward, Leeds Rhinos, Oulton Raiders
Sam Wilde, Warrington Wolves, Shevington Sharks
Ted Chaplehow, Widnes Vikings, West Bank Bears
Toby King, Warrington Wolves, Meltham All Blacks
Tyler Dickinson, Huddersfield Giants, Siddal