Written by Rugby Football League
Following players’ participation in the University Rugby League Origin Game earlier this month and the Inter-Regional Games in December, England Universities Head Coach Kevin Deighton has announced his 26 man squad for the 2023 season.
The announcement marks Deighton’s first year in charge of the national team, having moved up from the assistant role which he has held since 2018.
The squad sees Adam Lavin, Charlie McCurrie, Christian Gale, Delaine Bedward-Gittens, Jac Cherry, Jake Lightowler, Joe Riley, Jordan Bull, Leon Stewart and Matty Rudd return after selection in 2022, whilst Nathan Redmond returns to the squad having been selected in 2020 before the Coronavirus pandemic saw the programme cancelled for the year.
Elsewhere Deighton has experienced players in Noah Lancelott who won the European Rugby League U19s Championship in Italy with England last year, whilst Joe Wardill has 17 first grade appearances to his name for Hull Kingston Rovers which will add to the experience of the side.
“It has been a very tough process to select the players owing to the talent that has once again been on display during the process” noted Deighton. “Rightly there are some lads who are disappointed to be missing out, but I am confident that the 26 selected are the right selections and have earned the right to pull on an England shirt and they should be very proud of their achievement. But of course, the hard work doesn’t stop now and myself and the rest of the staff are looking forward to meeting them all and starting the programme when we come together on Saturday 4th March for our first camp.”
England play four games between April and June against GB Police, GB Teachers and UK Armed Forces in the RFL President’s Cup whilst the squad will also play a friendly against HM Prison Service. The squad will then be cut to 20 players for the Student Rugby League Four Nations which takes place in Wales in early July.
16 Universities are represented in the squad, ranging from Northumbria and Lancaster in the North to South Bank and West London in the capital, and Keele, Coventry and Warwick in the West Midlands, demonstrating once again the truly national reach of the University game.
“I’m very pleased to see so many universities represented” continued Deighton. “Everyone involved is very proud that our pathway is open and transparent to every Rugby League player playing in this country and it doesn’t matter where you come from – if you are good enough, you will be selected.”
Aaron Powell (Warwick)
Adam Lavin (Lancaster)
Alfie Crawford (Leeds Beckett)
Callum Scott (Leeds Beckett)
Charlie McCurrie (Leicester)
Chris Ball (West London)
Christian Gale (South Bank)
Conner Gilbey (Hull)
Daniel White (Northumbria)
Delaine Bedward-Gittens (Coventry)
Ed Brown (Bedfordshire)
Harry Medlicott (Leeds Beckett)
Isaac Coleman (York)
Iwan Orr (Leeds Beckett)
Jack Cherry (Nottingham)
Jack Mallinson (Leeds Beckett)
Jake Lightowler (Northumbria)
Joe Wardill (Leeds Beckett)
Joe Riley (Leeds)
Jordan Bull (Leeds Beckett)
Leon Stewart (Hull)
Luke Phoenix (Loughborough)
Matty Rudd (Manchester Metropolitan)
Nathan Redmond (Loughborough)
Nathan Rushworth (Northumbria)
Noah Lancelott (Keele)
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