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England vs Tonga: Matty Ashton and Ben Currie in 19-player squad for second Test

Warrington Wolves pair Matty Ashton and Ben Currie have been called up to England's 19-player squad for the second Test against Tonga in Huddersfield on Saturday after Tommy Makinson and Morgan Knowles were both ruled out due to injury

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ - 29/04/2023 - Rugby League - Rugby League Mid-Season International - England v France - Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington, England - Matty Ashton.
Image: Matty Ashton is called into England's 19-player squad after an injury to Tommy Makinson

Matty Ashton and Ben Currie have been added to the England squad for their second Test against Tonga in Huddersfield on Saturday.

Warrington Wolves pair Ashton and Currie replace winger Tommy Makinson and back row Morgan Knowles, both of whom sustained injuries in England's gruelling 22-18 win in St Helens on Sunday in the first of a three-match series against the southern hemisphere side.

Ashton's call-up to the 19-man matchday squad will represent only his second international appearance after the 25-year-old winger previously featured in England's 64-0 thrashing of France in April.

Picture by Olly Hassell/ - 20/10/2023 - England Rugby League Training - Robin Park Arena, Wigan, England - England's Ben Currie
Image: Ben Currie is included in England's 19-player squad for the second Test

"Matty Ashton impressed me earlier in the year during the mid-season international against France and has continued on the same path over the last few weeks," England head coach Shaun Wane said. "I'm really pleased to be able to give him an opportunity against Tonga."

The 29-year-old Currie featured in England's run to the final of the 2017 World Cup but has played for his country just twice in the last six years, also including the win over France.

The second Test of the series at John Smith's Stadium will see Huddersfield Giants prop Chris Hill make his 35th full international appearance on Saturday. He is third on the all-time list of England appearances behind James Graham (44) and Ryan Hall (40).

England will once again be captained by St Helens full-back Jack Welsby as George Williams serves the second of his two-match suspension.

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Highlights of the mid-season international between England and France

Victory over Tonga will seal a series win for the hosts, but Wane is expecting a backlash from Kristian Woolf's team as they seek to set up a decider at AMT Headingley on Saturday, November 4.

"Last week was a real battle of attrition and we fought hard to come out on top, but we still have work to do to win this three-game series," Wane said.

"We know that Tonga will be hurt, they'll come out even stronger, and will be seeking revenge this weekend. It is up to us to ensure that doesn't happen and we come away with the victory - and the series."

Wane 'shocked' by Tonga complaints

Wane admitted he was surprised to hear complaints from Tonga after England edged out the Mata Ma'a in the first Test.

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ - 22/10/2023 - Rugby League - International Test Series - England v Tonga - The Totally Wicked Stadium, St Helens, England - Shaun Wane is interviewed.
Image: England head coach Shaun Wane has responded to comments from the Tonga camp following the first Test

Tonga captain Addin Fonua-Blake asserted he felt his team beat themselves in St Helens rather than succumbing to better opposition, while there were also complaints from their head coach Woolf over the slow speed of the rucks in the clash at Totally Wicked Stadium.

Wane is adamant the tourists will see a much better showing from England in Huddersfield on Saturday.

"I was shocked at the comments about the ruck, but they can say what they want," Wane said. "Our players don't say things like that, but if that's the way they want to behave then it's up to them.

"To say they didn't feel we won the game is a bit insulting to us, but it's been said and we'll deal with it. We'll be preparing and make sure that they see the best of us on Saturday."

England vs Tonga second Test 19-player squads

England (from): Matty Ashton, John Bateman, Tom Burgess, Daryl Clark, Ben Currie, Liam Farrell, Chris Hill, Tom Johnstone, Toby King, Matty Lees, Mikey Lewis, Mike McMeeken, Robbie Mulhern, Harry Newman, Victor Radley, Harry Smith, Danny Walker, Jack Welsby (c), Elliott Whitehead.

Tonga (provisional): 1 Will Hopoate, 2 Junior Tupou, 3 Will Penisini, 4 Moses Suli, 5 Tolutau Koula, 6 Tui Lolohea, 7 Isaiya Katoa; 8 Addin Fonua-Blake (c), 9 Siliva Havili, 10 Tevita Tatola, 11 Tyson Frizell, 12 Haumole Olakau'atu, 13 Felise Kaufusi.

Replacements (from): 14 Dion Teaupa, 15 Moeaki Fotuaika, 16 Keaon Koloamatangi, 17 Eliesa Katoa, 18 Hame Sele, 19 Konrad Hurrell.

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