Henderson makes switch to England

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Born in Torquay, brought up in Australia, capped by Scotland and currently playing and living in France, Ian Henderson is now a member of England's squad for this season's internationals. The Catalan Dragons' hooker and one-man rugby league United Nations was the surprise inclusion in Steve McNamara's elite training squad yesterday.

"I know him from his time at the Bradford Bulls, but he has improved out of sight," the England coach said. "I talked to him when he came back into Super League, and playing for England was something he desperately wanted to do." Ian was one of three Henderson brothers who played for Scotland in the 2008 World Cup, but he has now changed his affiliation.

Also named in the squad is another former Scot, the Huddersfield scrum-half, Danny Brough. He too opted for Scotland in 2008 and his bid to switch back to England was aborted last year when he lost fitness and form at the wrong times. "He's got that spark back," McNamara said.

A third significant newcomer to the squad is the Wigan back-rower, Gareth Hock, who made a faltering comeback last season after serving a two-year ban for cocaine use, but has started to rediscover his best form. There is a recall for Rob Burrow, who has reinvented himself as a regular hooker and is one of 10 Leeds players named in the squad.

Inevitably, though, there are some notable absentees: England must be well-off for centres if McNamara can afford to leave out Warrington's Ryan Atkins and Michael Shenton, of St Helens, while it is hard to define what another half-back/hooker, Huddersfield's Luke Robinson, has done wrong this season.

There is also a 28-man England Knights squad, for which those three absentees have also been overlooked. Among the new names there are Warrington's Welsh-born Rhys Evans and Huddersfield's Joe Wardle.

Both squads – minus England's Australia-based players – will gather for the first of their training camps at Loughborough on Sunday. The full squad will also have a high-altitude camp before the end-of-season internationals against France and Wales. "We will be the first rugby league team to try this, but we think it might give us an edge," McNamara said.

England squad Carl Ablett (Leeds), Ryan Bailey (Leeds), Chris Bridge (Warrington), Tom Briscoe (Hull), Danny Brough (Huddersfield), Rob Burrow (Leeds), Garreth Carvell (Warrington), Josh Charnley (Wigan), Rangi Chase (Castleford), Eorl Crabtree (Huddersfield), Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield), Ryan Hall (Leeds), Zak Hardaker (Leeds), Ian Henderson (Catalan Dragons), Gareth Hock (Wigan), Ben Jones-Bishop (Leeds), Jamie Jones-Buchanan (Leeds), Jonny Lomax (St Helens), Danny McGuire (Leeds), Michael McIlorum (Wigan), Adrian Morley (Warrington), Lee Mossop (Wigan), Sean O'Loughlin (Wigan), Jamie Peacock (captain, Leeds), James Roby (St Helens), Kevin Sinfield (Leeds), Sam Tomkins (Wigan), Kallum Watkins (Leeds), Kris Welham (Hull KR), Ben Westwood (Warrington), Jon Wilkin (St Helens), Kirk Yeaman (Hull).