England v France: Sam Tomkins out injured, four could debut

Sam Tomkins
Sam Tomkins is England's most-capped current player, with 28 appearances
England v France
Venue: Leigh Sports Village Date: Saturday, 24 October Kick off: 14:00 BST

Wigan full-back Sam Tomkins will miss England's match against France on Saturday after failing to overcome a knee injury.

Coach Steve McNamara has named four uncapped players in the squad, including Wigan trio John Bateman, Joe Burgess and George Williams.

St George Illawarra Dragons forward Mike Cooper could also make his debut.

Tomkins is expected to be fit for the series of three matches against New Zealand, beginning on 1 November.

"Sam's really close, but we don't want to push him," said McNamara. "We want a fully-fit Sam Tomkins to push himself into contention for next week."

Stand-off Williams, 20, who was voted Super League's Young Player of the Year, looks set to start after being selected ahead of Wigan teammate Matty Smith and Castleford's Luke Gale.

"George has been sensational in the second half of the year," said McNamara.

Full England squad: Sean O'Loughlin (captain, Wigan Warriors), John Bateman (Wigan Warriors), Joe Burgess (Wigan Warriors), Thomas Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Mike Cooper (St George Illawarra Dragons), Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield Giants), Liam Farrell (Wigan Warriors), Brett Ferres (Huddersfield Giants), James Graham (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs), Ryan Hall (Leeds Rhinos), Zak Hardaker (Leeds Rhinos), Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves), Josh Hodgson (Canberra Raiders), James Roby (St Helens), Kallum Watkins (Leeds Rhinos), Ben Westwood (Warrington Wolves), Elliott Whitehead (Catalans Dragons), Gareth Widdop (St George Illawarra Dragons), George Williams (Wigan Warriors).

England v New Zealand Test series
BBC TV coverage: First Test - Sunday, 1 Nov, 16:30-19:00 GMT on BBC Two; Second Test - Saturday, 7 Nov, 14:00-16:30 GMT on BBC One; Third Test - Saturday, 14 Nov, 12:45-15:00 GMT on BBC One.

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