Salford City Reds’ stars will be facing off against each other tonight as teammates turn enemies for International Origin Game II at the Galpharm Stadium.
Reds standoff Daniel Holdsworth and centre Joel Moon line-up for the Exiles while scrumhalf Matty Smith makes his first start for England.
Exiles coach Daniel Anderson is a big supporter of the Origin concept and says his players are relishing the opportunity to play England too.
“We want to put on a style of rugby league that more resembles the Exiles brand.
“We want players that are asking coaches to play for the Exiles and we’ve got that now. They consider it a shop window for their endeavours,” he said. “They want to play against England.”
Holdsworth has been in sparkling form this season and lines up alongside Catalan Dragons’ Scott Dureau in the halves.
24-year-old Moon – a summer signing from NRL side New Zealand Warriors – has been rewarded for a string of fine performances and will start at centre.
England coach Steve McNamara is looking forward to seeing how Smith and halfback partner Danny Brough cut it at this level in their brand-new 6-7 combination.
“Matty (Smith) and Danny (Brough) really excite me,” he said.
“They have been in tremendous form in the Stobart Super League and I know they have the ability to step up and perform at this level. They will complement each other’s skills and can form a devastating partnership.”
Smith, who will make his debut at number seven, is delighted that the national side gets to test themselves against such stellar opposition.
“When we’ve played France in the past and we’ve run away with games, it’s not doing anyone any good,” he said. “Playing the best overseas players in Super League is a great concept and a better game for the fans and everyone involved.”
The England-Exiles International Origin match will kicks off at 19:45 with tickets still available. Visit www.rfl.co.uk or call 0844 8561113.