20th February 2019, 09:50 | university
England Universities have selected their 2019 26-man squad which will take part in the RFL President's Cup competition and two friendly fixtures before the squad is cut to 20 for the Student Rugby League Four Nations in June.
16 institutitions are represented from all areas of the country, showing the national spread of University Rugby League and the breadth of talent accross the country.
Two players return for their third season with the national team, with Ryan Langton having previously played in 2016, and 2018 and Kieran Smith playing 2017 and 2018, whilst Ben Gray, Conner MacCallum, Dan Gover, Lee Registe, Lewis Fairhurst, Matthew Chrimes and Will Jubb all earn their second year of selection having represented England in 2018.
The England squad is selected from players trialling to play for the region within which they study, with 120 players playing for the six regions in a round of regional games in November.
A north and south squad is then selected for the NIDO Student Origin Game, with 22 players taking part on for each side.
"As ever, we've aimed to pick the strongest squad available to us," said England Universities Head Coach Richard Tate.
"Its great to welcome back players who already have experience with England, but just as great to introduce new faces to the side and to see what those players can do.
"We've got a good mix of talented players from around the country and I'm really looking forward to gelling them as a team and helping them to improve and perform at the best of their abilities."
The squad's first assignment will be a training camp at the University of Nottingham on 16th and 17th March, after which they will train together twice more before their first competitive game.
"We had an overnight camp at the start of the programme last year which worked really well," Tate added.
"It's a great opportunity for the players and staff to get to know each other and set some expectations and ambitions for the year. We'll be screening for injuries and getting a feel for what the players strength and conditioning needs are, as well as doing some light training with plenty of bonding opportunities amongst it all!"
England Universities 2019 Squad: