Jake Connor called into England squad for New Zealand match
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 11/06/18 12:56pm
Hull utility back Jake Connor is the surprise selection in England's 19-man squad for the Test match against New Zealand in Denver on June 23.
The 23-year-old former Huddersfield player is one of three uncapped players chosen by head coach Wayne Bennett for the ground-breaking international at the Mile High Stadium.
St Helens pair Luke Thompson and Tommy Makinson are the other new faces, while Bennett has included all three Burgess brothers from South Sydney.
Connor was in the England Knights' performance squad set to tour Papua New Guinea in the autumn but his sparkling form in a variety of positions for Hull this year has earned him promotion to the senior squad.
Prop Thompson is also promoted from the Knights after a huge season with the Betfred Super League leaders, who provide five of the 13 England-based players. The others are Makinson, who was already in the elite squad, James Roby, Mark Percival and Jonny Lomax.
Wigan provide three players in skipper Sean O'Loughlin, John Bateman and George Williams, while Stefan Ratchford and Chris Hill are Warrington's sole representatives following the omission of hooker Daryl Clark, who had been expected to earn a recall.
Bennett said: "I have selected a strong squad that I believe has the ability and talent to beat New Zealand in Denver. The game is going to be a tough one but we will go into it with confidence.
"We have been impressed with all the players this season and the three uncapped players deserve their call-ups after showing their talent and determination both on and off the field.
"We have always been clear that the door to the senior squad is open to any player showing the form to be selected. The squad has a real mix of experience and youth and that will prove important during our time in Denver.
"Playing a mid-season Test against Samoa last year proved invaluable and I'm sure this will be the same. It gives the team a chance to spend time together and me and my coaching staff to see how they perform together against one of the best teams in the world ahead of the International Test Series in the autumn."
England's full squad:
J Bateman (Wigan), G Burgess, S Burgess, T Burgess (all South Sydney), J Connor (Hull), J Graham (St George Illawarra), R Hall (Leeds), C Hill (Warrington), J Lomax (St Helens), T Makinson (St Helens), J McGillvary (Huddersfield), S O'Loughlin (Wigan, capt), M Percival (St Helens), S Ratchford (Warrington), J Roby (St Helens) L Thompson (St Helens), G Widdop (St George Illawarra), G Williams (Wigan), E Whitehead (Canberra).