Dom Young gets the nod over Ryan Hall for England’s World Cup opener

Dom Young gets the nod over Ryan Hall for England’s World Cup opener

England will unleash blockbusting winger Dom Young against Samoa in Saturday’s World Cup opening game at Newcastle’s St James’ Park.

The 6ft 6in Yorkshireman has been preferred to veteran Ryan Hall, England’s record tryscorer, after making a big impression in last Friday’s warm-up match versus Fiji.

The 21-year-old former Huddersfield player, who scored one try and created two more in England’s 50-0 win, was named in coach Shaun Wane’s 19-man squad, which contains just one other specialist winger in St Helens’ Tommy Makinson.

England squad
Shaun Wane has named his squad for England’s World Cup opener (England Rugby League)

Makinson, rested against Fiji, won the prestigious Golden Boot after making a spectacular entrance onto the international stage in the 2018 Test series against New Zealand and he says playing in a World Cup on home soil will provide the highlight of his career.

“This will go straight to the top,” he said. “It just doesn’t come any bigger.

“It’s every kid’s dream to play in a home World Cup and now it’s about delivering. Hopefully we can start it in style and get the job done.”

Wigan second rower John Bateman was the only player unavailable as he continues to serve a three-match ban carried over from the Super League season and the other players left out of the 24-man squad are hooker Andy Ackers, second rower Joe Batchelor and prop Mikolaj Oledzki.

Tommy Makinson
St Helens winger Tommy Makinson says playing in a home World Cup will be the pinnacle of his career (PA Images/Martin Rickett)

Wane has named all three half-backs available to him and the inclusion of Michael McIlorum as the only hooker suggests he will put Jack Welsby’s versatility to good use.

Oledzki was one of two injury doubts after damaging a shoulder playing for Leeds in the Grand Final and one of his fellow front rowers, Mike Cooper or Chris Hill, are expected to drop out of the 19 when Wane shows his full hand 90 minutes before kick-off.

The inclusion of another 21-year-old, Kai Pearce-Paul, suggests he could be on stand by in case second rower Mike McMeeken fails to recover from a foot injury, having got the nod ahead of Batchelor.

Pearce-Paul is one of five uncapped players, alongside Young, Victor Radley, Marc Sneyd and Herbie Farnworth, while Kallum Watkins, Tom Burgess, Hill and Elliott Whitehead are the four survivors from the team that lost to Australia in the 2017 World Cup final.

“It was disappointing that night but this is a different group and we believe we can go all the way,” said Whitehead.

“It’s a tough task against Samoa but we know what this group is capable of.

“It will be a great atmosphere up at St James’ and two great teams going up against each other, it should be a good spectacle to start the World Cup.

“If there’s 45,000 there, we know 44,500 are cheering for England.”

England’s 19-man squad: S Tomkins (Catalans Dragons, captain), T Makinson (St Helens), K Watkins (Salford), H Farnworth (Brisbane), J Welsby (St Helens), G Williams (Warrington), T Burgess (South Sydney), M McIlorum (Catalans Dragons), L Thompson (Canterbury Bulldogs), E Whitehead (Canberra), V Radley (Sydney Roosters), D Young (Newcastle Knights), M Knowles (St Helens), M Lees (St Helens), M Cooper (Wigan), C Hill (Huddersfield), M McMeeken (Catalans Dragons), M Sneyd (Salford), K Pearce-Paul (Wigan).