England And Tonga Announce Squads For Final Encounter

2 Nov 2023

England  and Tonga have named their 19-player squads for the third  and final fixture of the three-game series against Tonga at Leeds’ AMT Headingley Rugby Stadium on Saturday (4 November, 2.30pm).

 George Williams is set to return for England after serving a two-game suspension, the Warrington Wolves halfback returning to the role of captain in place of stand-in skipper Jack Welsby who led the team to victories at St Helens and Huddersfield.

 Prop-forward Tyler Dupree comes into the squad after a successful season which saw him make his international debut against France in April, before sealing a domestic League Leaders’ and Betfred Super League Grand Final double with Wigan Warriors.

 Robbie Mulhern is in line to earn his first England cap since 2018, the Leigh Leopards forward having been named in Wane’s squad for the first time in the series after a season which saw him lift the Betfred Challenge Cup at Wembley Stadium.

Morgan Smithies and Josh Thewlis – who were both called up earlier this week – are also named in the squad, but Sydney Roosters loose forward Victor Radley misses out with a groin strain, Toby King has been ruled out with an ankle sprain and winger Tommy Makinson is again side-lined with a wrist injury.

“I’m really pleased to be able to give everyone who was named in my original squad the opportunity to feature in this series" noted England Head Coach Shaun Wane. "Robbie, Tyler and Ben have all had impressive seasons at club level and deserve their call-up into the side for this final game against Tonga.

 “It’s great to be able to welcome George back into the fold as England captain. Mikey [Lewis] has been brilliant in the opening two games, but I had always said George would come back in once his suspension was served. I’m really confident that the squad I’ve selected can get the job done and finish the series in style in front of a packed house in Leeds.”

Meanwhile Wane's opposite number Kristian Woolf is equally prepared for the final match of the historic three match series. 

“While we are disappointed to have not get the results in the first two games, I have not seen any change in the focus of the players,” said Woolf. “I’ve been impressed with the professionalism and commitment to their preparation they have shown throughout this series.

“They have dealt with that bit of failure well and have shown us they want to put in a really strong performance in this third game. While we can’t win the series, we are very keen to finish off this historic series strongly with a win over England.”

Woolf will potentially hand debuts to Latu Fainu and Siua Wong who come into the squad in the place of Dion Teaupa and Addin Fonua-Blake. 

England lead the series 2-0 following victories at St Helens (22-18) and Huddersfield (14-4). 

England 19-player squad   
Matty Ashton (Warrington Wolves), John Bateman (Wests Tigers), Tom Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Daryl Clark, Ben Currie (both Warrington Wolves), Tyler Dupree (Wigan Warriors), Chris Hill (Huddersfield Giants), Tom Johnstone (Catalans Dragons), Matty Lees (St Helens), Mike McMeeken (Catalans Dragons), Robbie Mulhern (Leigh Leopards), Harry Newman (Leeds Rhinos), Harry Smith, Morgan Smithies (both Wigan Warriors), Josh Thewlis, Danny Walker (both Warrington Wolves), Jack Welsby (St Helens), Elliott Whitehead (Canberra Raiders), George Williams (Warrington Wolves)

Tonga 19-player squad
 Isaiya Katoa, Felise Kaufusi (Dolphins), Moeaki Fotuaika (Gold Coast Titans), Tui Lolohea (Huddersfield Giants), Latu Fainu, Tolutau Koula, Haumole Olakau'atu (Manly Sea Eagles), Eliesa Katoa (Melbourne Storm), Tyson Frizell (Newcastle Knights), Will Penisini (Parramatta Eels),Moses Suli (St George Illawarra Dragons), Will Hopoate, Konrad Hurrell (St Helens), Siliva Havili, Keon Koloamatangi, Hame Sele, Tevita Tatola, (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Siua Wong (Sydney Roosters), Junior Tupou (Wests Tigers)