5th November 2019, 06:29 | great_britain
Great Britain have had good news on the injury front, as prop Luke Thompson has been included in Wayne Bennett’s 21 man squad for Saturday’s Test in Christchurch, after returning to training on Tuesday after suffering a rib injury against Tonga.
Jack Hughes has also been named in the initial squad at centre with Zak Hardaker reverting to the wing.
Hughes was made co-captain of Warrington Wolves in 2019, helping the club to victory at Wembley against St Helens in the Challenge Cup as a second row. The 27-year-old, who captained the England Knights in 2018 on their tour to Papua New Guinea, began his career as a centre and has played the position for Wigan and Warrington during his career, and is ready to take on the challenge:
"It's always about team first. Obviously, a couple of injuries have tested the depth of the squad and Wayne's asked me to jump in at centre and do a job and do it justice.
"It doesn't phase me. Back in my Wigan days I played there. You're under a bit more stress and a bit more pressure in terms of decision making, but it's nothing I can't handle."
Meanwhile, winger Ryan Hall and centre Oliver Gildart will head home from the tour after both were ruled out through injury.
Gildart, 23, dislocated his shoulder in the opening tour game against the Tonga Invitational XIII but has remained in camp as part of the squad for the last ten days but with the team relocating to Christchurch on Wednesday ahead of Saturday’s clash with New Zealand, he will now fly home to Wigan to continue his treatment ahead of the new Betfred Super League.
Hall, 31, suffered a subluxation of his left patella five minutes from the end of Saturday’s narrow defeat to the Kiwis in Auckland. He has returned to Sydney to continue his recovery with his club side, Sydney Roosters.
The Great Britain squad were already without Sam Burgess, Tommy Makinson, Mark Percival, Luke Gale, Kallum Watkins, Stevie Ward, Morgan Knowles and James Roby through injury before the tour departed. The Lions management have opted not to bring any replacement players in to the squad. Head Coach Wayne Bennett commented, “We have every faith in the ability of the players within our squad to get the job done. It is disappointing for Ryan and Oliver that they have had to leave the tour through injury.”
The 21 man squad in full:
1. Jonny Lomax (Orrell St James, St Helens)
2. Jermaine McGillvary (Deighton Juniors, Huddersfield Giants)
3. Jack Hughes (Golborne Parkside, Warrington Wolves)
4. Jake Connor (Siddal, Hull FC)
5. Zak Hardaker (Featherstone Lions, Wigan Warriors)
6. Gareth Widdop (Kings Cross, St George Illawarra Dragons)
7. Jackson Hastings (Western Suburbs Red Devils, Salford Red Devils)
8. Chris Hill (New Springs Lions, Warrington Wolves)
9. Josh Hodgson (East Hull, Canberra Raiders)
10. Tom Burgess (Dewsbury Moor, South Sydney Rabbitohs)
11. John Bateman (Bradford Dudley Hill, Canberra Raiders)
12. Elliott Whitehead (West Bowling, Canberra Raiders)
13. James Graham (c) (Thatto Heath, St George Illawarra Dragons)
14. Josh Jones (Blackbrook, Salford Red Devils)
15. Joe Philbin (Culcheth Eagles, Warrington Wolves)
16. Daryl Clark (Fryston Warriors, Warrington Wolves)
17. Alex Walmsley (Dewsbury Celtic, St Helens)
18. Blake Austin (Doonside Roos, Warrington Wolves)
19. George Williams (Wigan St Patricks, Wigan Warriors)
20. Luke Thompson (Bold Miners, St Helens)
21. Lachlan Coote (Windsor Wolves, St Helens)