Fox handed England chance
Hull KR winger Peter Fox has been included in England's 19-man squad for Friday's Gillette international against France.
Last Updated: 23/06/08 11:31am
Hull KR winger Peter Fox has been included in England's 19-man squad for Friday's Gillette international against France in Toulouse.
The 23-year-old will win his first cap after Hull winger Gareth Raynor was ruled out through injury.
Fox came through the junior ranks at Leeds and two years ago was plucked from the obscurity of part-time National League rugby at York by Wakefield coach John Kear.
He joined Rovers at the start of this season and has been in prolific form with eight tries in 14 Super League appearances, having missed five matches with a sternum injury.
The other eye-catching names in Tony Smith's squad are Castleford's 18-year-old loose forward Joe Westerman and Warrington second rower Ben Westwood.
Both Fox and Westerman are uncapped but Westwood played for England in the 2006 Federation Shield and was a non-playing member of Great Britain's Tri-Nations squad in 2007.
The fixture in Toulouse is a crucial part of England's preparation for the end-of-season World Cup in Australia and Smith has pledged to field his strongest available team.
The squad, which will be captained by Leeds forward Jamie Peacock, includes 16 members of the Great Britain team that achieved a 3-0 Test series whitewash over New Zealand last autumn.
"I have picked a strong squad which is based on current form but also one which includes a few new faces from the squad which beat the Kiwis last autumn," said Smith.
"The trip to France will give us good experience ahead of the World Cup. I won't just be looking at how they perform on the pitch this week but also how they interact with each other in camp.
"This is their opportunity to impress and, providing they maintain their form over the remainder of the season, potentially book their flights to Australia for the World Cup.
"Peter and Joe have both had good seasons with their clubs and are included in the squad on merit.
"I expect the game against France to be a tough one especially in the forwards. Catalans Dragons' success this year has been built on a strong pack and the majority of those players will be turning out for France this Friday."
The squad features six players from engage Super League champions Leeds and seven from Challenge Cup holders St Helens.
England squad: Sam Burgess (Bradford), Rob Burrow (Leeds), Gareth Ellis (Leeds), Marie Fa'asavalu (St Helens), Peter Fox (Hull KR), Ade Gardner (St Helens), Martin Gleeson (Warrington), James Graham (St Helens), Danny McGuire (Leeds), Adrian Morley (Warrington), Jamie Peacock (Leeds), Leon Pryce (St Helens), James Roby (St Helens), Keith Senior (Leeds), Kevin Sinfield (Leeds), Paul Wellens (St Helens), Joe Westerman (Castleford), Ben Westwood (Warrington), Jon Wilkin (St Helens)