21st November 2017, 11:22 | englandrl

Unchanged squad for Tonga semi-final

Unchanged squad for Tonga semi-final

Wayne Bennett has named an unchanged squad ahead of England’s Rugby League World Cup semi-final against Tonga at Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland on Saturday, November 25 (6.00pm NZDT).

England progressed through to this stage of the tournament after a 36–6 quarter-final victory over Papua New Guinea in Melbourne. Two tries each for Jermaine McGillvary, who has scored six in the competition so far, and man of the match Kallum Watkins helped the side set up a clash with Tonga.

Gareth Widdop remains in the number one jersey after another impressive display at full-back and James Roby retains his place after making an impact off the bench against The Kumuls. Roby is in line to make his 30th Test appearance this Saturday and will receive a silver lion on his playing shirt.

This is the first time Tonga have advanced past the group stages since competing in their first World Cup in 1995. Head Coach Kristian Woolf’s side have beaten strong opposition, including New Zealand, to make the semi-final and will be looking to key players Jason Taumalolo, Andrew Fifita, Tuimoala Lolohea and Michael Jennings to get them over the line at Mount Smart at the weekend.

England Head Coach, Wayne Bennett, said: “We wanted to make this stage of the competition and we have done – I’m proud of the commitment, attitude and effort from the whole squad so far.

“It was a mixed performance against Papua New Guinea. I was pleased with the way we defended and the build-up to some of our plays but the discipline with the football needs to improve.

“On and off the field, everyone is working hard for one another to get the little things right so we can take it into the game. Everyone’s aware of the opportunity that’s in front of them.

“Kristian has done a great job with this Tongan side. They’re big, run hard and have beaten some tough teams to get here. We’re looking forward to this one.”

England 21-man squad to face Tonga:

  1. Gareth Widdop
  2. Jermaine McGillvary
  3. Kallum Watkins
  4. John Bateman
  5. Ryan Hall
  6. Kevin Brown
  7. Luke Gale
  8. Chris Hill
  9. Josh Hodgson
  10. James Graham
  11. Sam Burgess
  12. Elliott Whitehead
  13. Sean O’Loughlin ©
  14. Alex Walmsley
  15. Thomas Burgess
  16. Ben Currie
  17. James Roby
  18. Jonny Lomax
  19. Chris Heighington
  20. Mark Percival
  21. Scott Taylor