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Ratchford left out of autumn England squad; RUGBY LEAGUE.

Byline: IAN LAYBOURN Rugby League Reporter

WARRINGTON full-back Stefan Ratchford is the notable omission from the first group of players named for the autumn internationals.

A squad of 28 has been unveiled for England's World Cup Nines campaign, the first Great Britain tour since 2006 and the England Knights fixture against Jamaica at Headingley on October 20. That includes 12 players from the Great Britain performance squad that was announced earlier this month and 16 from the Knights performance squad last revised in July.

Ratchford, who was on the bench for England's last match against New Zealand last November, has been left out, along with his Warrington team-mate Josh Charnley, the former Wigan winger. Also omitted are the Hull pair of fullback Jamie Shaul and prop Scott Taylor, while Leeds back rower Stevie Ward has been left out, after playing only two games this year due to injury.

Wolves' Australia-born stand-off Blake Austin injured a knee in his club's last match of the season, but is expected to be fit for the start of the Lions tour.

The group does not include players from the three teams still competing for the Super League title - Wigan, St Helens and Salford - or any of the NRL-based players.

The squad will meet up this week for the first two of four sessions at the Manchester Institute of Health and Performance under England Knights head coach Paul Anderson and England pathways coach Paul Sculthorpe. England's 16-man squad for the inaugural World Cup Nines, in Sydney, will be announced next Sunday ahead of their departure on October 12.

The 24-man squad for the four-match Lions tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, which gets under way against Tonga, in Hamilton, on October 26, will be announced on Monday, October 14.

TRAINING group: M McMeeken, G Minikin, J Trueman, L Watts (Castleford), S Tomkins (Catalans Dragons), M English, K Leeming, J McGillvary, D McIntosh, O Wilson (Huddersfield), J Bowden, J Connor, M Matongo (Hull FC), C Atkin (Hull KR), A Handley, H Newman, M Oledzski, C Smith (Leeds), R Butler (London Broncos), R Lyne (Wakefield), B Austin, D Clark, C Hill, J Hughes, T King, T Lineham, J Philbin, D Walker (Warrington).

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Author:IAN LAYBOURN Rugby League Reporter
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 1, 2019
Words:367
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