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 four potential stand-offs who could line up for the All Stars in June…
AIDAN SEZER (HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS / AUSTRALIA)
Aidan Sezer has become an integral part of the Huddersfield Giant set-up since arriving at the John Smith’s Stadium ahead of the 2020 Betfred Super League season.
Sezer departed Canberra Raiders on the back of representing the club in the 2019 NRL Grand Final which saw the Raiders fall to a late 14-8 defeat to Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium. The Bankstown-born halfback had previously represented Gold Coast Titans in the NRL before spending four years with Canberra.
The Australian has made 21 appearances for Huddersfield over the past 18 months, scoring nine tries. Sezer missed the early rounds of the 2021 season through injury, but recently scored 13 of Huddersfield’s 14 points in an impressive victory over Leeds Rhinos.
Sezer has previously appeared for representative sides such as the Indigenous All Stars and New South Wales City and could add the Combined Nations All Stars to that list next month.
ROBERT LUI (LEEDS RHINOS / AUSTRALIA)
Robert Lui is yet to feature for Leeds Rhinos in 2021 after tearing his quadricep back in February however the Australian halfback will be hopeful of returning to the field in the near future.
The 31-year-old has been plying his trade in the Betfred Super League since 2016 having spent three-and-a-half seasons with Salford Red Devils before joining Leeds Rhinos on loan. Lui helped Leeds Rhinos lift the Betfred Challenge Cup in 2020, defeating his former club Salford 17-16 in the Final at Wembley Stadium.
It was Combined Nations All Stars Head Coach Tim Sheens who brought Lui to Salford back in 2016 after also coaching Lui at Wests Tigers between 2009 and 2011. Lui also spent four seasons with North Queensland Cowboys between 2012 and 2015.
After spending time under Sheens stewardship before, Lui is likely to be in the Australian’s thoughts – should he be fit – for this year’s mid-season international.
🙌 𝐖𝐇𝐀𝐓 𝐀 𝐖𝐄𝐄𝐊𝐄𝐍𝐃.
🏴 England’s Men, Women and Wheelchair teams will each step up @RLWC2021 preparations in a groundbreaking triple bill this June.
— England Rugby League (@England_RL) March 16, 2021
THOMAS LEULUAI (WIGAN WARRIORS / NEW ZEALAND)
Wigan halfback Thomas Leuluai is one of a very select number of players who could play for the Combined Nations All Stars having also represented a previous incarnation of the team in the form of ‘The Exiles’.
Leuluai represented The Exiles in both 2011 and 2012 with the Kiwi holding a 100% winning record against England for The Exiles. With 40 international caps to his name with New Zealand, the 35-year-old has faced off against England on seven occasions, coming out on top in five of those fixtures. Leuluai has lifted both the Rugby League World Cup and Rugby League Four Nations with New Zealand.
The vastly experienced halfback is now in his 11th season with Wigan Warriors – spanning two spells. Leuluai has won the Betfred Super League twice, the League Leaders’ Shield on three occasions as well as the Betfred Challenge Cup and the World Club Challenge. He was also lifted the Harry Sunderland Trophy – for a Player of the Match performance in the Betfred Super League Grand Final – in a 2010 victory over Warrington.
If Tim Sheens is looking for experience in his Combined Nations All Stars side, he need look no further than Leuluai.
MASON LINO (WAKEFIELD TRINITY / SAMOA)
Mason Lino joined Wakefield Trinity in the off-season and has been a shining light in a difficult start to the 2021 Betfred Super League season for Chris Chester’s side.
Before heading to Wakefield, Lino has enjoyed spells with New Zealand Warriors and Newcastle Knights in the NRL making 17 appearances for both clubs. Lino has already crossed for three tries in his eight Wakefield appearances in all competitions.
On the international stage, Lino has earned three caps for Samoa between 2016 and 2019. He debuted in defeat to Fiji back in 2016 and his most recent international appearance came in a 24-6 victory over Papua New Guinea in June 2019.
A highlight of Lino’s maiden season in the United Kingdom could be representing the Combined Nations All Stars against England in June.
Get your tickets to watch England face the Combined Nations All Stars at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Friday 25 June here.