Rugby League World Cup: George Williams to captain England against Fiji

George Williams says he is “unreal” to captain England for their warm-up game against Fiji
Hosts: England Dates: From October 15 to November 19
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and online; Live commentary from Radio 5 Live and Sports Extra; live texts and highlights on the BBC Sport website and app.

Warrington half-back George Williams said it was an “unreal feeling” to be named England captain for the first time in their World Cup warm-up game with Fiji in Salford on Friday.

The 27-year-old will replace rested first-choice skipper Sam Tomkins.

England open the World Cup against Samoa in Newcastle on October 15.

Eighteen of coach Shaun Wane’s 24-man World Cup squad will feature in the Fiji game.

“It’s an unreal feeling. I think it will be the pinnacle of my career to captain my country,” former Wigan Warriors and Canberra Raiders player Williams said.

“It’s something I’m going to enjoy and I’m really looking forward to seeing this great team go forward.”

Tomkins missed games with a knee problem in the closing weeks of the Super League campaign, but the Catalans Dragons defender told BBC Sport last week. he will be fit and “ready”. World Cup to start.

Friday’s game against Fiji, who have been semi-finalists in each of the previous three World Cups, will be only England’s fourth game since former Wigan manager Wayne Bennett replaced Wayne Bennett in February 2020.

England, the 2017 World Cup runners-up, will also face France and Greece in the group stage after opening the tournament against Samoa at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park.

Ryan Hall playing for England
Ryan Hall is preparing for his third World Cup with England

“A lot of people ask me” – Hall

Friday’s meeting will be the fourth between the two sides and the first since the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. England were victorious that time, with Ryan Hall scoring two in a 34-12 victory.

Nine years later, the Hull KR winger and England’s all-time leading try scorer will once again face the Fijians as he prepares to make his country’s third World Cup appearance.

“I’m getting to the stage that a lot of people have been asking about,” Hall, 34, said. he told the BBC Radio 5 Live Rugby League podcast.

“But the coach is concerned about that and has put his trust in me again, I think because of the work I did in the Superliga.”

The winger made his debut for England in the 2017 final They narrowly lost 6-0 to hosts Australia.

“I would like to take it one step further,” he added.

“I can’t watch the final too much, when Kallum Watkins breaks down and looks like he’s on his own and gets that last ankle knock, I feel like we had a boost.

“At that stage of the game, if we score, the last six minutes will be very interesting. As it happens, we will have to create something like that this time.”

England squad to face Fiji: Ackers, Batchelor, Burgess, Cooper, Farnworth, Hall, Hill, Marshall, McIlorum, McMeeken, Pearce-Paul, Powell, Radley, Smith, Sneyd, Thompson, Wardle, Watkins, Welsby, Whitehead, Williams, Young.