England And Tonga Squads Announced For First Series Game

20 Oct 2023

England and Tonga have named their 19 player squads for their opening match of a historic three-game international series, which starts on Sunday 29th October at St Helens, 2,30pm Kick Off. 

England will be led by Jack Welsby who at 22 years of game becomes England’s youngest ever captain and the first St Helens player to captain the national side since James Graham had the honour in 2010. 

Hull KR halfback Mikey Lewis is set to make his international debut after an impressive season, during which he helped the Robins reach both the Betfred Challenge Cup Final at Wembley and the Betfred Super League play-off semi-finals. Lewis was previously part of the mid-season international squad but didn’t feature back in April against France.

Harry Newman could also earn his first full international cap on Sunday. The Leeds Rhinos centre previously represented England Knights in a 2018 victory over Jamaica, but a succession of injuries have since prevented him from making the international grade at senior level.  

 Betfred Super League Grand Finalist and Steve Prescott Man of Steel nominee Tom Johnstone is selected after a season which saw him score 28 tries in all competitions for Catalans Dragons. Johnstone crossed for a hat-trick in his most recent – and only – England outing against France at the Leigh Sports Village in 2018.

Daryl Clark could also return to the England side for the first time since 2018, whilst fellow Warrington Wolves hooker Danny Walker is also named following his England debut against France earlier in the year. 

Leigh Leopards forward Robbie Mulhern also featured in the 44-8 win over France five years ago and also named by Head Coach Shaun Wane in the squad. 

“I’m really pleased and confident with the squad I’ve selected for this opening fixture against Tonga” said Wane.  “We’ve had a strong week since arriving in camp and we are heading into this weekend focused with a job to do. We hope that the fans will turn out in their numbers to help us over the line.”

England will be without George Williams who misses out whilst he serves the first of a two-game suspension, whilst Dom Young is ruled out through injury.

England: John Bateman (Wests Tigers), Tom Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Daryl Clark (Warrington Wolves), Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors), Chris Hill (Huddersfield Giants), Tom Johnstone (Catalans Dragons), Toby King (Wigan Warriors), Morgan Knowles, Matty Lees (both St Helens), Mikey Lewis (Hull KR), Tommy Makinson (St Helens), Mike McMeeken (Catalans Dragons), Robbie Mulhern (Leigh Leopards), Harry Newman (Leeds Rhinos), Victor Radley (Sydney Roosters), Harry Smith (Wigan Warriors), Danny Walker (Warrington Wolves), Jack Welsby (St Helens), Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders)

Tonga: Isaiya Katoa, Felise Kaufusi (Dolphins), Moeaki Fotuaika (Gold Coast Titans), Tui Lolohea (Huddersfield Giants), Tolutau Koula, Haumole Olakau'atu (Manly Sea Eagles), Eliesa Katoa (Melbourne Storm), Tyson Frizell (Newcastle Knights), Addin Fonua-Blake (New Zealand Warriors), Will Penisini (Parramatta Eels),Moses Suli (St George Illawarra Dragons), Will Hopoate, Konrad Hurrell (St Helens), Siliva Havili, Keon Koloamatangi, Hame Sele, Tevita Tatola, Dion Teaupa (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Starford Toa (Wests Tigers).