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France – England: George Delaney called up to the senior national team for the first time

St. Helens stalwart George Delaney has been called up to the England senior squad for the first time and is part of a newly formed team that faces France in Toulouse on Saturday.

Castleford Tigers centre Sam Wood, Wigan Warriors hooker Brad O’Neill, Hull KR forward Elliot Minchella, Huddersfield Giants forward Oliver Wilson and Leeds Rhinos forward James McDonnell have also been named in Shaun Wane’s 20-man squad.

Delaney, 20, was rewarded for an outstanding season with his club, establishing himself as a regular in Saints head coach Paul Wellens’ front row.

Wane has put together a squad with many young players with a view to the 2026 World Cup.

He said: “I am pleased with the squad we have put together for this mid-season international. There is a good balance between some more experienced international players and some new faces in the England squad.”

McDonnell and Wilson were members of the England academy team that defeated the Australian Schoolboys in 2018.

O’Neill, who has featured for Wigan in most of the past two years, was a key figure in a team that in June became the first English club since 2007 to win all four major trophies at once: the Super League title, the League Leaders’ Shield, the Challenge Cup and the World Club Challenge trophy.

Minchella helped Hull KR to both the Challenge Cup final and the Super League play-offs in 2023.

Delaney, who joined the St. Helens Academy as a 15-year-old, made his first-team debut in April 2022 and represented the England Knights against Scotland later that year.

The following season, he returned to the Saints to play 18 Super League games after a loan spell in the Championship with Swinton.

Last August, he signed a contract that ties him to the Saints until 2026, and he has only missed three games this season.

Next Saturday’s match is part of a doubleheader with both the men and women playing against France.

Wane’s side will then play a two-match Test series against Samoa, with the first match at the Brick Community Stadium in Wigan (formerly the DW Stadium) on Sunday 27 October and the second at the AMT Headingley in Leeds on Saturday 2 November (both 14:30 GMT).

England squad: Ben Currie (Warrington Wolves), George Delaney (St. Helens), Tyler Dupree (Wigan Warriors), Ash Handley (Leeds Rhinos), James Harrison (Warrington Wolves), Tom Johnstone (Catalans Dragons), Matty Lees (St. Helens), Mikey Lewis, Jez Litten (both Hull KR), James McDonnell (Leeds Rhinos), Elliot Minchella (Hull KR), Harry Newman (Leeds Rhinos), Matty Nicholson (Warrington Wolves), Brad O’Neill, Harry Smith, Luke Thompson (all Wigan Warriors), Jack Welsby (St. Helens), George Williams (Warrington Wolves), Oliver Wilson (Huddersfield Giants), Sam Wood (Castleford Tigers).

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