England’s elite performance squad trained together for the first time this morning as the national side continue their preparations for the World Cup this autumn.
The squad, comprised of Super League based players only, met at Hopwood Hall College in Rochdale for the first of six training sessions planned for throughout the year.
The sessions are being used as preparation for England’s mid-season test against Samoa in Sydney on Saturday May 6 and the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand later this year.
England assistant coaches Paul Anderson and Paul Sculthorpe led training and will report back to head coach Wayne Bennett.
Former Huddersfield head coach Anderson said: “It’s good to get everyone together and for the players to showcase what they can do.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The England Performance Squad met up for their first session today...great to see some new faces <a href="https://t.co/8ygeZbFopR">pic.twitter.com/8ygeZbFopR</a></p>— England Rugby League (@England_RL) <a href="https://twitter.com/England_RL/status/836282282914668544">February 27, 2017</a></blockquote>
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“It’s been a while in planning and it’s good to get to the stage now where we can actually get the players out there and put some fundamental skill into them.
“It’s important for us to get time with the players and we’re thankful to the Super League clubs for granting us the time with their players. It’s important in the greater scheme of things.
“We want there to be a togetherness and understanding in the group and it’s been an opportunity to go through some terminology which we’ve managed to drill into the boys.
“Hopefully the proof will be in the pudding during the World Cup that these sessions have been a success.”
Well up nice and early this morning.. heading over to Manchester to the first @England_RL training session 🤘— Zak Hardaker (@zakhardaker1) February 27, 2017
The squad includes non-capped players Mike McMeeken and Hull duo Danny Houghton and Jamie Shaul and Anderson believes it’s important for those players to get a taste of the international set-up.
“We’ve got a few players who have never been at this level before and they should gain confidence from training with the players today who have represented England before,” he added.
“We understand they’ve got games this weekend with their clubs so what we’re doing here is very minimal but it’s giving players who haven’t been international players before the chance to get to that stage.
“The Samoa test is on the horizon for them which is going to be exciting and also challenging.”