Hull KR half-back Jordan Abdull looks set for a first England (7/1 Rugby World Cup Outright) appearance against France at the weekend after being named in Shaun Wane’s (pictured) 20-man squad.
England face France in a post-season Test match at Catalans’ Stade Gilbert Brutus on Saturday.
The World Cup was supposed to be getting underway next weekend but the competition has been delayed a year after Australia and New Zealand pulled out with concerns over Covid protocols.
However, England and France will do battle next weekend with the game offering a big opportunity to several players.
Abdull’s inclusion comes after a sensational campaign both personally and with his club.
He helped the Robins (25/1 Grand Final Winner) reach the semi-finals in the Super League play offs and was one of the nominees for the prestigious Steve Prescot Man of Steel award.
The 25-year-old is one of only two specialist half-backs in the squad along with St Helens’ (2/1 Grand Final Winner) star Jonny Lomax, meaning he is almost certain to start the match.
Other potential debutants include Castleford Tigers full-back Niall Evalds with Sam Tomkins missing the match through injury, while Leeds Rhinos centre Harry Newman and St Helens prop Matty Lees are also in the mix.
A new captain will also have to be selected as Tomkins was the last man with the armband when England played the Combined Nations All Stars in June.
Wane says he is happy with his squad despite the number of players who are unavailable.
“Things are always going to be fluid up to a point with form and injuries but I’m more than happy that we have the players to get the job done,” the former Wigan Warriors Grand Final winner stated.
“Every player is in on merit and they know what’s expected of them. Each one is a credit to their club, they have adapted themselves well at training, and bring a very positive mindset.
“There’s no doubt it’s going to be tough. Catalans Dragons players dominate the French squad and their fans are fanatical.”