England’s head coach Eddie Jones and captain Sam Tomkins insisted they have made a squad capable of winning the Rugby League World Cup.
Shaun Wane’s 24-man squad includes seven uncapped players, while regular starters such as Mark Percival, Jonny Lomax, and Alex Walmsley are missing due to injury.
The players who can win their first caps against Fiji in a warm-up Test next Friday are the Salford duo of Andy Ackers and Marc Sneyd.
The NRL trio of Dom Young, Herbie Farnworth, Victor Radley, Wigan’s Kai Pearce-Paul, and St Helens’ Joe Batchelor are also among those players who are vying for a maiden international appearance.
Shaun insisted he has the squad to win the World Cup on home soil despite the inexperienced players, who will face Samoa on 15 October.
On asked about his squad’s chances of success, Shaun replied I have got 24 strong, committed men who want to represent England, and I mean that. Moreover, he added I am all for thinking forwards, and I am happy with the squad we have named. Jonny, Alex, and Mark have gone, but I am more than happy with what we have got, he added.
Sam Tomkins, captain of the team in this tournament, has supported Shaun’s decision.
On asked if he felt England could win the World Cup, Tomkins replied I believe so. He said there are 24 guys here desperate to play for England. You have got to win a big quarter-final, semi-final, and a final, but the group we have made is more than capable of doing that, he added.
Shaun said he is almost decided on the team that will face Samoa on Friday. I am very close to knowing that team, there is still a couple of doubts, but the Fiji game will help me decide, he added.