England Universities Head Coach Richard Tate has announced the 26 man squad which for the 2022 season, following players’ participation in the University Rugby League Origin Game earlier in February and the Inter-Regional Games in November 2021.
The announcement marks a return for representative Rugby League in the university sector following the cancellation of the programme in 2020 and 2021 owing to coronavirus restrictions.
Alex Eckley, Ben Gray, Nathan Taylor and Sean Croston are the only players in the squad with previous England experience although Ben Bradshaw, Michael Holden and Jake Lightowler were called into the England squad in 2020 before the programme was cancelled.
"Once again, we have been impressed by the talent and effort of all the players through the inter-regional games and the origin game and its certainly posed a few selection headaches” said Tate. “However, I am confident that we have the right players and myself and the rest of the staff are looking forward to meeting them and kicking off the programme on the 5th March when we come together for our camp."
England play four games between April and June against GB Police, GB Teachers and UK Armed Forces in the RFL President’s Cup whilst the squad will also play a friendly against HM Prison Service. The squad will then be cut to 20 players for the Student Rugby League Four Nations which takes place in Ireland in late June.
16 Universities are represented in the squad, ranging from Northumbria and Newcastle in the North to London South Bank and Gloucestershire in the South, demonstrating once again the truly national reach of the University game.
"It's great to see so many institutions represented in the squad” continued Tate. “It goes to show that everyone playing University Rugby League has a transparent pathway to represent their country and the 26 players selected should be very proud of their selection."
England Universities 2022 Squad:
- Adam Lavin (Lancaster University)
- Alex Eckley (Liverpool John Moores University)
- Ben Bradshaw (University of Hull)
- Ben Gray (Sheffield Hallam University)
- Ben Thewlis (Loughborough University)
- Brad Calland (Edge Hill University)
- Cameron Brown (Liverpool John Moores University)
- Charlie McCurrie (University of Leicester)
- Christian Gale (London South Bank University)
- Delaine Bedward-Gittens (Coventry University)
- Elliott Jones (University of Hull)
- Harry Trulson (Hull FC Sports College)
- Jack Cherry (University of Nottingham)
- Jack Quinn (Northumbria University)
- Jake Lightowler (Northumbria University)
- Joe Riley (University of Leeds)
- Kellen Wood (Liverpool John Moores University)
- Leon Stewart (University of Hull)
- Matty Rudd (Manchester Metropolitan University)
- Max Flanagan (Newcastle University)
- Michael Holden (University of Gloucestershire)
- Nathan Newbound (Northumbria University)
- Nathan Taylor (Liverpool John Moores University)
- Sean Croston (Northumbria University)
- Ted Davidson (Loughborough University)
- Tyler Hepple (Northumbria University)