England v Tonga: Hosts ‘obsessed’ with series clean sweep says head coach Shaun Wane

England v Tonga: Hosts 'obsessed' with series clean sweep says head coach Shaun Wane

Josh Thewlis and Morgan Smithies
Uncapped Josh Thewlis (left) and Morgan Smithies (right) have been named in England’s squad

England head coach Shaun Wane says his side are “obsessed” with claiming a series clean sweep over Tonga with victory in Saturday’s final Test.

Wanes has also called Josh Thewlis and Morgan Smithies into his squad for the finale at Headingly in Leeds.

“We have to win on Saturday just like they [Tonga] have to, ” Wane said on Tuesday.

“It means a lot to us to get a win this Saturday and I feel like I know my players. The way we talk and trained, they are obsessed with winning this game.

“It’ll be fantastic for our game, they’re number five in the world rankings and have a lot of great athletes who play in the NRL.

“I watch NRL, I know what they’ve got on their team but the way my lads have stood up to them with the physicality when we are dwarfed in size and weight shows a lot of English spirit and that’s what I’m most proud of.”

Wane has also called-up two new faces despite previously saying he would not.

Smithies has moved to Canberra Raiders after helping Wigan to win the Grand Final, and Warrington’s Thewlis is the Super League Young Player of the Year.

“I’m really pleased to be able to bring both Morgan and Josh into our squad,” Wane added.

“Morgan has had a terrific season with Wigan and impressed me earlier this year when he wore the England shirt for the first time, and Josh is coming in on the back of a breakthrough year with Warrington.

Smithies made his Test debut in the win over France in April, while Thewlis is uncapped.

Waned added: “Both players are very versatile and offer me some options in key positions ahead of the third Test. Our players have endured a long season and there are little knocks here and there so it’s important we bolstered the squad in this final week.

“It’s great to know that Rugby League fans will be turning out in big numbers in Leeds this weekend to round off the series.”

Seven World Cup winners to face France

England have named seven of their Wheelchair World Cup-winning party in their eight-strong matchday squad for Sunday’s meeting with France at the First Direct Arena.

The one addition is Leeds Rhinos’ Josh Butler, the younger cousin of the England captain Tom Halliwell.

Butler was rewarded for an impressive campaign by winning the Wheelchair Super League Young Player of the Year award.

England head coach Tom Coyd said: “It’s a measure of the quality of Josh Butler’s performances this season, and his contribution to all our camps this year up to and including St George’s Park, that he has earned a place in our team.”

Wayne Boardman is picked as a ninth player, who will be available to join the squad if there are any late withdrawals.

England squad: Tom Halliwell (Leeds Rhinos, captain), Sebastien Bechara (Catalans Dragons), Jack Brown (North Queensland Cowboys), Josh Butler (Leeds Rhinos), Nathan Collins (Leeds Rhinos), Joe Coyd (London Roosters), Rob Hawkins (Halifax Panthers), Lewis King (London Roosters). Ninth player: Wayne Boardman (Halifax Panthers).

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