Newcastle Knights flyer Dom Young is to be unleashed by England in their World Cup opener against Samoa among a six-strong NRL contingent in the hosts’ matchday squad.
The uncapped powerhouse winger Young should feel at home at St James’ Park on Saturday – the home of Newcastle United soccer team – after being rewarded with a place following a major impression in last Friday’s warm-up match versus Fiji.
The two-metre tall 21-year-old, who scored one try and created two more in England’s 50-0 win, has been named in coach Shaun Wane’s 19-man squad, which contains just one other specialist winger in St Helens’ Tommy Makinson.
Young, who scored 14 tries for the Knights in 20 matches this season, is selected ahead of Ryan Hall, England’s leading all-time try-scorer.
Young is one of six uncapped players selected, alongside fellow NRL debutants, Brisbane Broncos’ Herbie Farnworth and Sydney Roosters’ Victor Radley.
The other NRL players selected by Wane are South Sydney’s Tom Burgess, Canterbury’s Luke Thompson and Canberra’s Elliott Whitehead.
Burgess and Whitehead are survivors from the team that lost to Australia in the last World Cup final in 2017, along with Kallum Watkins, and Chris Hill.
“It was disappointing that night but this is a different group and we believe we can go all the way,” said Whitehead.
“It’s a tough task against Samoa but we know what this group is capable of.”
Wigan second rower John Bateman was the only player unavailable as he continues to serve a three-match ban carried over from the Super League season and the other players left out of the 24-man squad are hooker Andy Ackers, second rower Joe Batchelor and prop Mikolaj Oledzki.
Wane has named all three halfbacks available to him and the inclusion of Michael McIlorum as the only hooker suggests he will put Jack Welsby’s versatility to good use.
Oledzki was one of two injury doubts after damaging a shoulder playing for Leeds in the Super League grand final and one of his fellow front rowers, Mike Cooper or Hill, are expected to drop out of the 19 when Wane shows his full hand 90 minutes before kick-off.
England’s 19-man squad to face Samoa:
S Tomkins (Catalans Dragons, captain), T Makinson (St Helens), K Watkins (Salford), H Farnworth (Brisbane), J Welsby (St Helens), G Williams (Warrington), T Burgess (South Sydney), M McIlorum (Catalans Dragons), L Thompson (Canterbury Bulldogs), E Whitehead (Canberra), V Radley (Sydney Roosters), D Young (Newcastle Knights), M Knowles (St Helens), M Lees (St Helens), M Cooper (Wigan), C Hill (Huddersfield), M McMeeken (Catalans Dragons), M Sneyd (Salford), K Pearce-Paul (Wigan).
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