England name five uncapped players in squad for autumn internationals
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 02/10/18 10:46am
Wakefield three-quarters Tom Johnstone and Reece Lyne are among five uncapped players in the 24-man England squad for this autumn's internationals against France and New Zealand.
Johnstone, 23, who has scored 24 tries for Trinity in Super League this season, is likely to be a straight replacement for injured winger Ryan Hall, while Lyne, 25, will be vying for a centre spot.
The others uncapped call-ups are St Helens prop Luke Thompson, 18th man for the mid-season Test against New Zealend in Denver, Wigan second rower Joe Greenwood, who has played just nine matches since his return from Gold Coast Titans, and Castleford loose forward Adam Milner.
Lyne, Greenwood and Milner have earned promotion from the England Knights squad that will be named on Wednesday for the tour to Papua New Guinea.
The squad includes nine members of the team that lost to Australia in the World Cup final last December, 15 members of the World Cup squad and 13 of the 17 who won in Denver.
Ruled out through injury are Gareth Widdop, Kallum Watkins, Ryan Hall, Ben Currie, Alex Walmsley and James Roby, the St Helens hooker who will have surgery at the end of the Super League season.
Roby's absence has paved the way for the recall of Daryl Clark, who will be competing with the fit-again Josh Hodgson for the number nine jersey.
Full-back Sam Tomkins is back in the squad after a four-year absence but will be facing competition from Stefan Ratchford and Jonny Lomax for the number one shirt.
Hull prop Scott Taylor, who was a late call-up for Denver, makes way for the return of George Burgess, who is set to be reunited with brothers Sam and Tom for the first time since the 2016 Four Nations Series, when England last played on home soil.
Wayne Bennett's men play France at the Leigh Sports Village on Wednesday, October 17, followed by a three-Test series against New Zealand - at Hull's KCOM Stadium on Saturday, October 27, at Anfield on Sunday, November 4, and at Elland Road on Sunday, November 11.
"The England team have an attractive and important series of matches this autumn and the players are relishing the prospect of representing their country in front of home crowds again," said Bennett.
"It's important that we build on the positive work of the last couple of years, including last year's World Cup and the Denver Test, against what we'd expect to be the usual stern challenge from the Kiwis."
J Bateman (Wigan), G Burgess, S Burgess, T Burgess (all South Sydney), D Clark (Warrington), J Connor (Hull), L Gale (Castleford), J Graham (St George Illawarra), J Greenwood (Wigan), C Hill (Warrington), J Hodgson (Canberra), T Johnstone (Wakefield), J Lomax (St Helens), R Lyne (Wakefield), T Makinson (St Helens), J McGillvary (Huddersfield), A Milner (Castleford), S O'Loughlin (Wigan), M Percival (St Helens), S Ratchford (Warrington), L Thompson (St Helens), S Tomkins (Wigan), E Whitehead (Canberra), G Williams (Wigan).