Young England league team excites coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Young England league team excites coach

22/10/2009 06:50:24 AM Comments (0)

England coach Tony Smith is looking forward to seeing how a side with an average age of just 24 rise to the challenge of Test football after naming his team for Friday's Four Nations opener against France.

Smith has named two teenagers and three others aged 20 or 21 in a side which features just nine players who were involved in the lacklustre 2008 Rugby League World Cup campaign.

There are full debuts for 19-year-old duo Kyle Eastmond of St Helens and Tom Briscoe, the Hull winger who scored two tries in England's victory over Wales last Saturday, but no place for Wigan five-eighth Sam Tomkins, who grabbed a hat-trick of tries in Bridgend.

Instead, Leeds Rhinos five-eighth Danny McGuire and Salford City Reds halfback Richie Myler form a halves duo, just as they did in England's 66-12 victory over France in Paris in June.

"I know if we opted for Sam Tomkins in that position he'd do a good job but we believe the combination of Richie Myler and Danny McGuire is right for this match," said Australia-born Smith after unveiling on Wednesday the team that will take the field at Doncaster's Keepmoat Stadium.

"It's an exciting squad and a squad we think can do the job for us on Friday night. There is some terrific talent in there, a few new faces and some old heads. I'm really pleased by the squad we've selected."

Smith also voiced his confidence in Kyle Eastmond, one of three St Helens players on England's interchange bench.

"Kyle is comfortable in a lot of positions and he'll bring versatility from the bench. If we get injuries or somebody is not at their best we know we can introduce Kyle," said Smith.

"He's very good at running with the ball and taking the opposition on. I'm looking forward to seeing him in his first game."

England: Shaun Briscoe, Tom Briscoe, Lee Smith, Michael Shenton, Ryan Hall, Danny McGuire, Richard Myler, Adrian Morley, Scott Moore, Jamie Peacock (capt), Gareth Ellis, Sam Burgess, Kevin Sinfield. Interchange: James Graham, James Roby, Ben Westwood, Kyle Eastmond.

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