Initial 17 players named in England’s Elite Training Squad Programme
The RFL has announced an initial group of 17 players from nine different clubs who will form part of an England Elite Training Squad and benefit from access to world leading facilities, individualised player development plans and improved sports science throughout the season. The RFL has joined UK Athletics with requiring the group of 17 players as from 18 May to offer information on their whereabouts for one hour each day when they are available for out of competition testing.
Tony Smith said: (quote) The first group of players to be included in the Elite Training Squad programme are a mixture of youth and experience from a number of different clubs. I believe the players selected so far reflects that not only are we planning for this autumn’s Four Nations tournament but also the 2013 World Cup which we hope to stage in this country. More players will be added to the programme throughout the season and the aim is to provide an elite training environment for a wide range of players from a variety of different clubs who, in turn, will benefit from their players being involved. Although only 17 players have been named so far, by no means does it guarantee their place in the mid-season Test against France or the upcoming Four Nations. As always the playing squads will be picked on form which means the door is still wide open to all players with international aspirations.(end quote)
The Elite Training Squad programme forms part of the RFL’s Seven Point Plan, centred around widening the talent pool, world class coaching and much improved athlete preparation, that it believes will deliver international success in the future. In addition to more names being added to the Elite Training Squad programme throughout the year, the RFL will announce the appointment of an Elite Training Squad Manager in the next fortnight. The appointed person will be responsible for leading the implementation of the Elite Training Programme and developing individual players plans.
This initial phase will be developed in conjunction with the engage Super League clubs, coaches and players. The programme will be monitored and refined over the coming months with the first phase reviewed after the Four Nations.
England Elite Training Squad Phase One
Ryan Atkins 23 Wakefield Wildcats/Bramley Phoenix
Tom Briscoe 19 Hull FC/Featherstone Lions
Sam Burgess 20 Bradford Bulls/Dewsbury Moor
Rob Burrow 26 Leeds Rhinos/Featherstone Lions
Maurie Fa’asavalu 29 St Helens/Overseas
James Graham 23 St Helens/Thatto Heath/Blackbrook
Louie McCarthy Scarsbrook 23 Harlequins RL/Greenwich Admirals
Danny McGuire 26 Leeds Rhinos/East Leeds
Adrian Morley 32 Warrington Wolves/Eccles
Richard Myler 18 Salford City Reds/West Bank
Sean O’Loughlin 26 Wigan Warriors/Wigan St Patricks
Jamie Peacock 31 Leeds Rhinos/Stanningley
James Roby 23 St Helens/Blackbrook
Michael Shenton 22 Castleford Tigers/Smawthorne Panthers
Joe Westerman 19 Castleford Tigers/Featherstone Lions
Ben Westwood 27 Warrington Wolves/Normanton Knights
Jon Wilkin 25 St Helens/East Hull