Leeds Rhinos Foundation are delighted by the news that seven members of their PDRL squad have been selected to play for the England Lions PDRL side this weekend.
Top-scorer Scott Gobin and team captain Tommy Pouncey are among those who have been handed a call up for Sunday’s warm-up fixture against a ‘PDRL select’ team in Warrington.
The duo will be joined in the England ranks by Rhinos team-mates Pete Clarke, Henry Ackroyd, Nick Leigh, Nick Horner and Sam Zeller who have all been handed the chance to represent their country for the first time as the Lions step up their preparations for the inaugural PDRL World Cup in October.
There will also be some familiar faces on the opposite side, with a further three Rhinos- Chris Young, Aiden Miller and Harvey Redmonds- being given the opportunity to impress the coaches and play their way into World Cup contention by starring in a representative squad made up from some of the PDRL League’s brightest talents.
With the historic International tournament on the horizon, all 10 players will be putting in the hard yards and giving it their all in the hope of nailing down a place in the final squads for their nation.
It’s at the ASICS Stadium in iconic Victoria Park, which is hosting Sunday’s instalment of PDRL action, where England will kick off their World Cup campaign against fierce rivals Australia after the full schedule was revealed on Channel 4’s The Last Leg show last week.
The PDRL World Cup Final will also take place in Warrington at the home of Betfred Super League outfit Warrington Wolves – the nearby Haliwell Jones Stadium seeing two of England, Australia, Wales or New Zealand compete for the crown.
This Sunday’s PDRL action will also follow new international laws and systems that have not yet been properly trialled on home soil, giving all players the chance to get used to some unfamiliar rules.
With plenty of talent on show, here’s how the teams will line up in full this weekend:
England Community Lions – Tony Seward (Warrington Wolves), Ben Seward (Wigan Warriors), Callum Parkinson (Wakefield Trinity), Adam Fleming (Wakefield Trinity), Sam Zellar (Leeds Rhinos), Adam Morris (Warrington Wolves), Jamie Bennett (Warrington Wolves), Ben Nicholson (Wakefield Trinity), Scott Gobin (Leeds Rhinos), Peter Clarke (Leeds Rhinos), Mike Addison (Warrington Wolves), Mark Gummerson (Castleford), Nick Horner (Leeds Rhinos), Darren Dean (Warrington Wolves), Henry Ackroyd (Leeds Rhinos), Nicholas Leigh (Leeds Rhinos), Tommy Pouncey (Leeds Rhinos)
PDRL Select – Chris Young (Leeds Rhinos), Tom Bayliss (Warrington Wolves), Connor Lynes (Castleford Tigers), Adam Hills (Warrington Wolves), Nathan Jezierski (Warrington), Aiden Miller (Leeds Rhinos), Lee Thornton (Wigan Warriors), Nick Kennedy (Castleford Tigers), Harvey Redmonds (Leeds Rhinos), Richard Fisher (Salford Red Devils), Michael Parker (Castleford Tigers), Ryan Lazenby (Castleford Tigers), George Willshaw (Castleford Tigers), Jason Colborn (Bradford Bulls), Jordan Ratcliffe (Wigan Warriors), Stephen Scott (Bradford Bulls), John Clements (Wakefield Trinity)
Looking ahead to Sunday’s event and its significance in preparation for the World Cup, Chris Godfrey, the RFL’s Social & Inclusion Manager, said: “Again we look forward to continued growth in the PDRL format with this domestic representative fixture forming a fantastic aspirational opportunity for people within the game.
“It will hopefully set the scene for the World Cup ahead, featuring some of the top talent in England. Barriers are consistently being broken throughout Rugby League and once again PDRL offers its showpiece representative offer as another spearhead for our ground-breaking sport.”
Head Coach Shaun Briscoe said: “Myself, the coaching team and the players are really looking forward to another opportunity to progress the sport.
“Covid has been tough on us all and continued to impact the sport throughout last season, but looking at it positively this has given us an extra year to widen the talent pool, have extra time with players and lay more foundations from a representative PDRL point of view.
“This weekend will be one of the final chances for players to shine before the squad is announced and lots of players are in contention for a spot in the 20-player England Community Lions PDRL squad, it is making my job difficult, but these are great problems to have. Sunday should be high skill, high impact and hotly contested and shine a light on PDRL as a standalone RL variant.”
Things get underway at Victoria Park Warrington from 5:15pm and will be streamed live on Our League. Sign-up here to watch.