3 days ago - 1 Likes
GB squad v France - Smith names new faces
New Great Britain coach Tony Smith has named eight uncapped players in his 23-man squad to face France on 22 June.
Leeds skipper Kevin Sinfield has also been handed a recall after Smith decided to rest several senior players.
"This Test match is partly about planning and preparation for next year's World Cup," said Smith.
"I wanted to have a look at a number of players who have impressed in engage Super League this year to see how they play with a number of established internationals.
"I'm keen to see whether they can transfer their club form onto the international stage.
"If they can then they'll play themselves into contention for this autumn's Gillette Fusion Test Series against New Zealand and, who knows, a flight to Australia for next year's World Cup."
Sinfield, who is Smith's captain at Leeds Rhinos, returns to the Great Britain scene after falling out of favour under previous boss Brian Noble.
Among the well-known names missing from the squad are Paul Wellens, Jamie Peacock and Stuart Fielden.
"As I know what a lot of these players can offer me at international level, I felt a week off for them would be of benefit, especially when you consider some have played back to back rugby for five or six seasons now," said Smith.
"Hopefully the break will do them good and they'll be fresh and hungry for when we meet New Zealand in October.
"However, what I'm hoping for is that some of the new guys play at such a level against France that they give me a big selection headache for this autumn's Gillette Fusion Test Series."
Smith also gave the new Great Britain kit, which will been seen for the first time in the France game, a warm welcome.
"The new kit looks great and I'm sure those who wear it for the first time against France will feel a real pride in the jersey," said Smith.
Great Britain 23-man squad for France Test: Kevin Brown Rob Burrow Gareth Carvell Jon Clarke Andrew Coley Gareth Ellis Ade Gardner James Graham Gareth Hock David Hodgson Jamie Langley Andy Lynch Danny McGuire Chris Melling Adrian Morley Sean O'Loughlin James Roby Kevin Sinfield Paul Sykes Chris Thorman Stephen Wild Jon Wilkin Kirk Yeaman