Hull KR half-back Jordan Abdull is poised to make his England debut against France after being named in Shaun Wane’s 20-man squad for Saturday’s international in Perpignan.
Abdull appears to be guaranteed a starting spot as one of only two recognised halves in the squad along with St Helens star Jonny Lomax.
If he does feature as expected, Abdull will become the first KR player to represent England since Robbie Mulhern, also against France three years ago to the day.
Abdull starred for the Robins on their way to the play-off semi-finals, with his consistent form earning him a place on the Steve Prescott Man of Steel shortlist.
The 25-year-old finished the Super League season with five tries and 14 assists, and had a hand in many more as KR’s chief playmaker.
Abdull’s call-up comes on the same weekend half-back partner Mikey Lewis played a starring role in England Knights’ comprehensive victory over Jamaica.
Several other players are in contention to earn their first full England cap, including Castleford Tigers full-back Niall Evalds – in the absence of the injured Sam Tomkins – and Leeds Rhinos centre Harry Newman.
St Helens prop Matty Lees and Warrington Wolves hooker Danny Walker have been promoted from the Knights team, while Kruise Leeming could also make his debut after playing against England for the Combined Nations All Stars in June.
Daryl Clark and George Williams are among the other players unavailable due to injury.
England head coach Shaun Wane said: “Things are always going to be fluid up to a point with form and injuries, but I’m more than happy that we have the players to get the job done.
“Every player is in on merit and they know what’s expected of them. Each one is a credit to their club. They have adapted themselves well at training and bring a very positive mindset.
“There’s no doubt it’s going to be tough. Catalans Dragons players dominate the French squad and their fans are fanatical.
“We’ll work hard in training this week and we’ll be raring to go come game day. The players are ready to do England proud.”
Jordan Abdull (Hull KR), Ben Currie (Warrington Wolves), Tom Davies (Catalans Dragons), Niall Evalds (Castleford Tigers), John Bateman (Wigan Warriors), Mike Cooper (Warrington Wolves), Liam Farrell, Zak Hardaker (both Wigan Warriors), Morgan Knowles (St Helens), Kruise Leeming (Leeds Rhinos), Matty Lees, Jonny Lomax (both St Helens), Reece Lyne (Wakefield Trinity), Paul McShane (Castleford Tigers), Tommy Makinson (St Helens), Harry Newman, Mikolaj Oledzki (both Leeds Rhinos), Joe Philbin, Danny Walker (both Warrington Wolves), Alex Walmsley (St Helens).