Hodgson and Whitehead named for decider
Canberra Raiders Josh Hodgson and Elliot Whitehead have both been named in the England squad to take on New Zealand in this weekend's deciding test of the International Series. England have made two changes from the 19-man squad they selected against New Zealand in their 9-2 defeat at the Olympic Stadium last Saturday.
Half-back Matty Smith is named in the squad alongside Huddersfield Giants winger Jermaine McGillvary. They replace Huddersfield’s Leroy Cudjoe and Warrington Wolves forward Ben Westwood ahead of this Saturday’s International Series decider against the Kiwis at a sell-out DW Stadium, Wigan, kick off 1.00pm.
Smith, who plays for Wigan Warriors, has not played for England since last autumn’s 16-14 defeat to New Zealand in Dunedin.
McGillvary, Super League’s leading try-scorer from the 2015 season, is hoping to make his England debut on Saturday.
Both Smith and McGillvary will be eager to secure their respective places in the final 17, which will be announced by Coach Steve McNamara 90 minutes before kick off on Saturday.
“We have had a great week with our preparation and the players are ready to take on a strong New Zealand side,” said McNamara.
“The players are well aware of the importance of the game and the improvements we have to make from our previous matches to give ourselves every chance of beating New Zealand.
“We will have to be at our best to win, but we’ll relish the pressure of playing against a quality team in front of a full house at Wigan.”
England 19-man squad to face New Zealand is as follows (professional club and community club in brackets):
John Bateman (Wigan Warriors, Bradford Dudley Hill)
Joe Burgess (Wigan Warriors, Ince Rose Bridge)
Thomas Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs, Dewsbury Moor)
Mike Cooper (St George Illawarra Dragons, Latchford Albion)
Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
Brett Ferres (Huddersfield Giants, Smawthorne Panthers)
James Graham (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, Blackbrook)
Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos, Oulton Raiders)
Zak Hardaker (Leeds Rhinos, Featherstone Lions)
Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves, New Spring Lions)
Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders, East Hull)
Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants, Deighton Juniors)
Sean O’Loughlin, captain (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
James Roby (St Helens, Blackbrook)
Matty Smith (Wigan Warriors, Blackbrook)
Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos, Latchford Albion)
Elliott Whitehead (Catalans Dragons, West Bowling)
Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra Dragons, King Cross)
George Williams (Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks)
The final and deciding game of the series at DW Stadium, Wigan on Saturday November 14 is now sold out. Fox Sports 1 will have a live broadcast of the game at 12am, Sunday November 15.
This story first appeared on England RL.