18th October 2019, 18:00 | academy
It will be a proud and significant day for Newcastle Thunder, Cramlington Rockets and North-East Rugby League when England Academy take on Wales in Llanelli tomorrow afternoon.
Two members of the England squad – stand-off Alex Donaghy and centre Isaac Nokes – started their League journeys with the thriving Cramlington club, underlining the progress and potential for the game in the North East.
They have been preparing this week with an Academy squad from more traditional Rugby League territory – five players each from Leeds Rhinos and Warrington Wolves, three from St Helens, two apiece from Wigan and Huddersfield, and Bradford, Castleford and Widnes also represented.
There are some familiar names, too: Warrington’s Jacob Gannon, son of the former Halifax forward Jim; Wigan’s Umyla Hanley, son of the one and only Ellery; and a couple of players who have already made an impact at Super League level this season in the St Helens half-back Lewis Dodd, and Josh Thewlis, Warrington’s Oldham-born full-back.
The preparations included a training session with the England Knights squad in Leeds on Thursday before the squad made the long trek to Llanelli – all invaluable experience for a group who are all hoping to earn selection for next summer’s tour of Australia.
The Wales squad also includes a couple of Newcastle players in Cai Ellis and James McGurk, as well as a number of players from Southern Conference clubs, and others from amateur and professional teams in the north with Welsh heritage.
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WALES U19 v ENGLAND LIONS WALES TEAM
1 James Smith (Torfaen Tigers)
2 Finlay Swift (North Wales Crusaders)
3 Luis Roberts (Salford Red Devils)
4 Billy Glover (Widnes Vikings)
5 Will Lynch (Leigh Miners Rangers)
6 Matthew Morgan (West Wales Raiders)
7 Ryan Griffiths (Ince Rose Bridge)
8 Matt Jones (West Wales Raiders)
9 Cai Ellis (Newcastle Thunder)
10 James McGurk (Newcastle Thunder)
11 Jake Lee (Aber Valley Wolves)
12 William Mills (North Wales Crusaders)
13 Kieron Lewis (West Wales Raiders)
Subs: 14 Iwan Marsh (North Wales Crusaders) 15 Josh Palmer (Cardiff Blue Dragons) 16 Ieuan Roberts (West Wales Raiders) 17 George Sheppard (West Wales Raiders)
Danny Attley (Castleford Tigers)
Lewis Baxter (St Helens)
Joe Burton (Leeds Rhinos)
Lewis Dodd (St Helens)
Alex Donaghy (Newcastle Thunder)
Jacob Dugdale (Widnes Vikings)
Jacob Gannon (Warrington Wolves)
Corey Hall (Leeds Rhinos)
Umyla Hanley (Wigan Warriors)
Ellis Longstaff (Warrington Wolves)
Aidan McGowan (Huddersfield Giants)
Isaac Nokes (Newcastle Thunder)
Jamie Pye (St Helens)
George Roby (Warrington Wolves)
Rian Rowley (Leeds Rhinos)
Harry Rushton (Wigan Warriors)
Harry Shackleton (Bradford Bulls)
Iwan Stephens (Leeds Rhinos)
Robson Stevens (Huddersfield Giants)
Josh Thewlis (Warrington Wolves)
Liam Tindall (Leeds Rhinos)
Connor Wrench (Warrington Wolves)
Referee: Mike Smaill (New Zealand), Touch Judges: Ben Bragg, Matt Charnock