Wigan Warriors’ Matty Smith is set to make his international debut when England take on Samoa in the first of their Four Nations tests.
Wigan have four players representing them in the squad for Saturday’s clash, with Josh Charnley, Liam Farrell and Joel Tomkins joining Smith in the probable line-up.
And Smith, who enjoyed a fantastic Super League season with Wigan, is likely to be handed his England bow at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, but head-coach Steve McNamara is confident his young side will make their mark down-under.
“The thing with this group is that they are very intelligent players and you generally only have to tell them once or twice and they pick it up,” he told Sky Sports News.
“We’ve got some great combinations going. Ideally you would like to test them out in a game situation before the tournament, but I’m really confident.”
However, England are without skipper Sean O’Loughlin, also of the Warriors, for the game, with former St Helens forward James Graham taking the armband in place of the injured 31-year-old.
Hull’s Joe Westerman is set to deputise in place of O’Loughlin, who should return in the next match against Australia, although Westerman is determined to solidify his place in McNamara’s line-up.
“Lockers is the captain of the squad and one of the best in the world but, if I play well and do all I can, then it’s up to Steve depending on the squad he wants to pick,” the 24 year-old said.
Main image courtesy of Rugby League World Cup 2013 via YouTube, with thanks.