England v Samoa: Chris McQueen & Mike McMeeken to make international debuts

Mike McMeeken
Mike McMeeken has been one of the stand-out back-rowers in Super League for table-topping Castleford
England v Samoa Test
Venue: Campbelltown Stadium, Sydney Date: Saturday, 6 May Kick-off: 10:40 BST Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

Castleford Tigers' Mike McMeeken and Gold Coast Titans' Chris McQueen will make their international debuts for England in Saturday's Test against Samoa in Sydney.

The back-row pair were two of three uncapped players in the squad, with St Helens prop Alex Walmsley missing out.

McQueen, Australia-born to an English father, has previously represented Queensland in State of Origin.

Cronulla's Chris Heighington will make his first appearance since 2011.

McMeeken, whose amateur rugby came with Staines Titans before joining London Broncos, is one of three Castleford players in the starting 13.

Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs prop James Graham has overcome concussion fears to take his place in the side, with all seven Australia-based players selected.

There are a few surprises in Wayne Bennett's selection, with Castleford's Zak Hardaker named in the centres - a position he is familiar with despite making full-back his regular spot - and Warrington's Stefan Ratchford wearing the number one jersey.

Saints centre Mark Percival misses out, as does Hull FC prop Scott Taylor.

Samoa are yet to name their starting line-up but have several major NRL stars in Brisbane half-back Anthony Milford, Graham's Bulldogs team-mate Sam Kasiano and Canberra winger Joey Leilua.

England: Ratchford (Warrington Wolves); McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants), Watkins (Leeds Rhinos), Hardaker (Castleford Tigers), Hall (Leeds Rhinos); Brown (Warrington Wolves), Gale (Castleford Tigers); S Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Hodgson (Canberra Raiders), Graham (Canterbury Bulldogs), McMeeken (Castleford Tigers), Whitehead (Canberra Raiders), O'Loughlin (Wigan Warriors, capt).

Replacements: Hill (Warrington Wolves), Heighington (Cronulla Sutherland Sharks), McQueen (Gold Coast Titans), T Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs).

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