Danny Brough is the eye-catching name in England’s Elite Training Squad for this season’s internationals after turning his back on Scotland.
The Huddersfield scrum-half, in outstanding form so far this year, captained the Scots in the 2008 World Cup, but has now made himself available for the country of his birth.
Brough will not be short of competition for a place in the mid-season international and this autumn’s Four Nations, as the England coach, Steve McNamara, has included three half-backs who have recently been out of the Test side – St Helens’ Leon Pryce, Rob Burrow of Leeds and Richie Myler of Warrington.
There is no place for Saints’ Kyle Eastmond, who is widely expected to soon announce his departure to rugby union and is clearly not part of McNamara’s plans.
Newcomers in the 32-man squad include Ben Jones-Bishop of Leeds, Paul Prescott and Michael McIlorum of Wigan (both of whom have previously played for Ireland) and the Hull KR pair, Liam Watts and Kris Welham.
There are no places for Four Nations players Kevin Brown, Stuart Fielden, Garreth Carvell or Darrell Griffin. The Australian-based players – Sam Burgess, Gareth Ellis and Gareth Widdop - are not called up, whilst Ryan Atkins, Darrell Goulding and Shaun Lunt – all of whom played in the Four Nations – are named not in the elite squad, but in the England Knights.
That 25-man squad consists largely of younger players and will be assembled, after the senior squad, for the first time next week. Those will be the start of a number of get-togethers during the season for both parties.
“These are two very exciting squads, whose participation in the programmes we are putting together will help us reach our ambition to win the World Cup in 2013,” said McNamara.
“There is a terrific blend of youth and experience in the ETS squad.”
Hull KR and Bradford will both be without key players for the next three months with ankle injuries.
Rovers’ scrum-half, Michael Dobson, missed their defeat at the Catalan Dragons after having surgery.
The Bulls’ hooker, Heath L’Estrange, fractured his ankle in the victory over Crusaders at Wrexham. Bradford will also be without Chev Walker for up to a month after he tore a pectoral muscle in the same match.Reuse content