England will face the Combined Nations All-Stars on Friday 25 June at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
The All Stars side – set to be led by former Australia Head Coach Tim Sheens – will be formed by non-English players currently competing in the Betfred Super League.
With that in mind, we’ve shortlisted five potential fullbacks who could line up for the All Stars in June…
BEVAN FRENCH (WIGAN WARRIORS / AUSTRALIA)
Bevan French was one of the standout performers in last season’s Betfred Super League helping Wigan Warriors to their first League Leaders’ Shield since 2012 before going on to feature in the Grand Final.
French arrived at the DW Stadium midway through the 2019 season, but it was in 2020 when the Australian really came into his own for the Warriors. The 25-year-old finished the season with 15 tries in 20 appearances in all competitions, whilst also notching seven try-assists in the Betfred Super League.
A highlight of the mercurial fullback’s season was a stunning double against Salford Red Devils in October which saw French score two weaving long-range efforts in a convincing Wigan victory.
While he has yet to appear in 2021, there is no doubting French will be one of the frontrunners for the All Stars fullback spot.
LACHLAN COOTE (ST HELENS / SCOTLAND)
Since arriving at St Helens at the start of the 2019 Betfred Super League season, Lachlan Coote has become one of the most consistent performers in the division.
The former North Queensland Cowboys fullback has helped St Helens to back-to-back Betfred Super League Grand Final victories, in addition to the League Leaders’ Shield in 2019. Coote finished the regular 2020 Betfred Super League season with a total of 22 try involvements; 14 of which were try-assists.
Coote has experience on the international stage having represented Scotland in the 2016 Four Nations. The St Helens fullback also earned a Great Britain Rugby League cap against a Tongan Invitational XIII as part of the 2019 tour.
The 31-year-old has become an integral part of the St Helens side in recent seasons and may very well be the first name on Tim Sheens’ All Stars teamsheet.
ASHTON GOLDING (HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS / JAMAICA)
Ashton Golding joined Huddersfield Giants ahead of the 2020 Betfred Super League season after seven seasons at the Emerald Headingley Stadium with Leeds Rhinos.
Golding’s first season at the John Smith’s Stadium saw him score twice in 11 appearances however the 24-year-old has missed the opening rounds of 2020 due to a shoulder injury.
Despite not taking to the field yet this season, Golding has three international caps to his name for Jamaica and also featured in the Reggae Warriors’ 38-6 defeat against England Knights back in October 2019.
Golding will be hopeful of hitting form on his return to Giants side later this season and potentially forcing his way into the All Stars set-up.
ELLIOT KEAR (SALFORD RED DEVILS / WALES)
Elliot Kear has more international experience than the other four listed candidates combined having earned 26 caps for Wales, which sees him sit 3rd in Wales Rugby League’s all-time most-capped players.
The 32-year-old has represented Wales in the 2011 Four Nations, 2013 Rugby League World Cup and the 2017 Rugby League World Cup. Kear has scored 12 tries for Wales meaning he currently sits as the Dragons 3rd all-time top try-scorer behind Christian Roets and fellow Red Devil Rhys Williams.
Kear joined Salford Red Devils in 2020 after five successful seasons with London Broncos, which saw Kear help the Broncos return to the Betfred Super League in 2019. Since moving to the AJ Bell Stadium, Kear has appeared 14 times for the Red Devils, notching a solitary try against Warrington Wolves back in September.
The former Crusaders, Bradford and London man is a versatile back and could very well feature for the All Stars on the wing or in the centres.
MORGAN ESCARÉ (SALFORD RED DEVILS / FRANCE)
Another Red Devils candidate for the All-Stars fullback position is Frenchman Morgan Escaré who joined the club ahead of the 2021 Betfred Super League season.
Escaré scored an impressive 65 tries in 91 appearances for Catalans Dragons before moving to Wigan Warriors. The 29-year-old would help Wigan win the Betfred Super League in 2018 featuring in their Grand Final victory over Warrington Wolves at Old Trafford.
On the international stage, Escaré has earned 11 caps for France including at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup in which France faced England at the Quarter-Final stage. His last international outing saw him score twice in a 28-10 defeat of Scotland.
Could Escaré add some French flair to the All Stars side?
You can get tickets to watch England face the Combined Nations All Stars at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Friday 25 June here.