19th February 2018, 09:02 | university
Fifteen universities from across the country boast members of the 2018 England Universities squad as Head Coach Richard Tate names a 26-strong team of the country's leading University Rugby League players.
The squad will face stern tests in the RFL's Presidents Cup against GB Police, GB Teachers and UK Armed Forces Rugby League as well as two Student Rugby League Test Matches against New Zealand.
The squad will then be cut to 20 for a final match against Keighley Cougars Reserves before the Student Rugby League Four Nations competition, where England will do battle against Ireland, Scotland and Wales in a big to pick up their third Four Nations crown after taking the title in both 2015 and 2016.
England Universities Head Coach Richard Tate said:
"There were always going to be some tough decisions to make when selecting this squad, as the calibre of players in University Rugby League is growing year by year.
"I'm really looking forward to working with these players and excited to see what this group can achieve this year.
"As we keep one eye on the next Student World Cup, there's a lot of new faces to this programme, mixed with a number of familiar faces amongst the squad from the 2017 season, with experienced pair Aaron Hall and Ben Stead both set to feature."
Both players were named in the World XIII team following the Student Rugby League World Cup in Sydney in July 2017.
James Mason returns for his fourth consecutive year, whilst Jason Bass, Marcus Stock, Kieran Smith and Nathan Hill return having impressed for England during the World Cup campaign.
Lewis Taylor features after impressing during the domestic part of the England campaign and Ryan Langton returns to international duty having featured in the squad in 2016.
There are also a number of exciting new players in the ranks, some of which have come through the RFL's impressive and growing Midlands & North East areas.
In total, 15 Universities are represented in the squad, demonstrating the breadth of talent playing the game each in the University competitions.
The full squad is as follows: