Carvell hopes to seal England place

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The Independent Online

Places in England's team in the Four Nations are up for grabs when they play Wales at Bridgend today.

For their one pre-tournament run-out, England are without the nine players from Leeds and St Helens who were involved in the Grand Final a week ago. Many of them are likely to command places against France next Friday, as are Shaun Briscoe and Eorl Crabtree, who both miss the game with minor injuries.

That still leaves a number of spots open, with players like Peter Fox, Michael Shenton and Sam Burgess just needing to come through safely to clinch their places.

The most intriguing case, however, is that of Garreth Carvell, who played for Wales under the grandparent rule in the 2000 World Cup. Since then he has played for Great Britain, but this is his first appearance for England and, after an impressive first season at Warrington, a good performance tonight can take him, along with his captain, Adrian Morley, into the team.

It will also be fascinating to see how two of the stars of the future, Sam Tomkins and Richard Myler, blend at half-back. Gareth Ellis also plays his first game back in Britain after a season in Australia with Wests Tigers.

England should be far too good for a Welsh side – who lost 74-0 in last year's corresponding match – that relies heavily on part-timers with family qualifications and on relative novices at Celtic Crusaders.

One of that latter category, Ben Flower, captains his country, while Elliot Kear, a highly-promising full-back makes his debut.

The Hull KR hooker, Ben Fisher, has been named Scotland captain for the European Cup, in which Wales will also compete.

Wales (possible): Kear; Bateman, Blackwood, L Williams, R Williams; White, Watson; Kopczak, Budworth, James, Flower, Davies, Divorty. Substitutes: Barron, Dudson, Mills, Griffiths.

England: Sykes; Fox, O'Loughlin, Shenton, Briscoe; Tomkins, Myler; Morley, Moore, Carvell, Ellis, Westwood, Burgess. Substitutes: McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Higham, Tickle, Bridge.

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