Ablett named in England squad

Rhinos provide seven players for McNamara's party

Last Updated: 11/10/11 5:33pm

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Carl Ablett is a surprise inclusion in Steve McNamara's squad for the Gillette Four Nations Series.

The centre is one of seven players from Super League champions Leeds to be named in the 24-man squad, despite having suffered a fractured cheekbone six weeks ago.

"He's had to cancel his stag trip to Las Vegas on Wednesday so he's made a big sacrifice. He's obviously delighted with his call-up, even though it's cost him a few quid."
McNamara on Carl Ablett Quotes of the week

The injury has only recently come to light with Ablett being involved in the Rhinos glorious post-season run that saw them claim a fourth Grand Final triumph in five years.

"He's two players in one," McNamara told a news conference at the South Leeds Stadium. "He's got great versatility.

"He's obviously playing centre at the moment with Leeds but he's capable of playing in the back row as well. That's why he's a very valuable member of the squad.

"He's had to cancel his stag trip to Las Vegas on Wednesday so he's made a big sacrifice. He's obviously delighted with his call-up, even though it's cost him a few quid."

Revival

The Rhinos did not have a single player in the 2011 Super League Dream Team but their late-season revival has brought reward for Ablett and six of his team-mates, including uncapped winger Ben Jones-Bishop, veteran prop Jamie Peacock, who was confirmed as captain, and forward Ryan Bailey.

Another Leeds player, half-back or hooker Rob Burrow, who was man of the match in the Grand Final, was not considered because of a rib injury that has troubled him in recent weeks.

"I think it's important we have players who are confident and in form and players who are not carrying injuries as well," McNamara added. "The form of Leeds at the back end of the season has certainly strengthened their claims."

There are also four players from Grand Final runners-up St Helens but just two representatives from Wigan, with second rower or centre Joel Tomkins making himself unavailable amid growing speculation that he is set to switch codes by signing for Saracens.

Balance

"Joel asked not to be considered for personal reasons," said McNamara. "You'll have to speak to Joel, his manager or his club.

"It's disappointing that he wasn't available and there are always going to be players drop out but I'm really happy with what I've got.

"I'm happy with the balance and there is an excellent blend of strength, experience and flair."

Saints centre Michael Shenton, who dislocated an elbow at Old Trafford, is also ruled out, along with Warrington centre Chris Bridge, Huddersfield prop Eorl Crabtree, Wigan loose forward Sean O'Loughlin and South Sydney forward Sam Burgess.

St Helens' 20-year-old half-back Jonny Lomax has got the nod over Warrington's Richie Myler and Huddersfield's Danny Brough and, as expected, the squad includes Castleford's Maori international Rangi Chase and Australia-based quartet Chris Heightington, Gareth Widdop, Jack Reed and Gareth Ellis.

England play a warm-up international against France in Avignon on Friday week before playing their first Four Nations game against Wales at Leigh on Saturday, October 29.

Leeds also provide two players, Zak Hardaker and Chris Clarkson, in a youthful England Knights squad for Saturday's game against France at Leigh.

England's 24-man squad for the Gillette Four Nations Series: Carl Ablett (Leeds), Ryan Bailey (Leeds), Tom Briscoe (Hull), Garreth Carvell (Warrington), Rangi Chase (Castleford), Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield), Gareth Ellis (Wests Tigers), James Graham (St Helens), Ryan Hall (Leeds), Chris Heighington (Wests Tigers), Ben Jones-Bishop (Leeds), Jamie Jones-Buchanan (Leeds), Jonny Lomax (St Helens), Michael McIlorum (Wigan), Adrian Morley (Warrington), Jamie Peacock (Leeds, capt), Jack Reed (Brisbane), James Roby (St Helens), Kevin Sinfield (Leeds), Sam Tomkins (Wigan), Ben Westwood (Warrington), Gareth Widdop (Melbourne), Jon Wilkin (St Helens), Kirk Yeaman (Hull).

England Knights squad: Joe Arundel (Castleford), Jodie Broughton (Salford), Josh Charnley (Wigan), Chris Clarkson (Leeds), Paul Clough (St Helens), Mike Cooper (Warrington), James Donaldson (Bradford), Liam Farrell (Wigan), Jamie Foster (St Helens), Luke Gale (Harlequins), Zak Hardaker (Leeds), Ben Harrison (Warrington), Danny Houghton (Hull), Scott Moore (St Helens), Lee Mossop (Wigan), Richie Myler (Warrington), Stefan Ratchford (Salford), Chris Riley (Warrington), Matty Smith (Salford), Liam Watts (Hull KR), Kris Welham (Hull KR), Joe Westerman (Hull).

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