The RFL have announced a 34 man England training squad that will meet on the 15th of June in preperation for the 2014 Four Nations to be held in Australia and New Zealand in October and November.
The 34 man squad is:
Daryl Clark, Craig Huby, Michael Shenton, Elliott Whitehead, Leroy Cudjoe, Brett Ferres, Joe Westerman, Josh Hodgson, Carl Ablett, Tom Briscoe, Ryan Hall, Zak Hardaker, Kevin Sinfield, Kallum Watkins, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson, James Roby, Alex Walmsley, Kyle Amor, Chris Hill, Richard Myler, Stefan Ratchford, Ben Westwood, Chris Bridge, John Bateman, Joe Burgess, Josh Charnley, Liam Farrell, Michael McIlorum, Sean O’Loughlin, Dan Sarginson, Scott Taylor, Matty Smith.
No English players playing in the NRL will attend and all Wigan players have withdrawn from the training squad due to club commitments.
What are we doing here? What is this really all about?
To me this seems like someone trying to justify their job title. This entire training session these 34 players will have is just a waste of everyone’s time. I have no doubt other players will withdraw from this farce simply because it has zero impact on their chances of playing in the Four Nations at the end of the year.
Imagine if Australia or New Zealand named a 34 man training squad right now for the Four Nations, but they left out their best half a dozen players. They came together for one day and somehow tried to suggest that these few hours they would spend together will help them win the Four Nations title.
I would tear shreds off them!
For England though, this type of rubbish is par for the course. More meaningless bullshit to keep you distracted long enough that you don’t focus on the real issues England’s Rugby League team faces.
It has become increasingly clear over the last few months that England’s World Cup campaign was an unmitigated disaster. What was happening off the field, the way the team was managed, and the way many players were behaving was an absolute disgrace!
On top of that the results by the team were completely unacceptable. The coaching staff were found out in the worst possible way. There was simply not a single positive thing you could say about England’s 2013 World Cup campaign.
What was the result of this disaster? What changes were made?
None. Not a single thing has changed. It will be the same coach, same staff, many of the same players….and the results will be even worse if England’s diabolical away form is anything to go by.
But hey everybody, look at this new 34 man training squad. Isn’t it great! So much promise for the future. This is the 2013 World Cup legacy the RFL sold you on. No actual international games because played between England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland, just a 34 man training squad that will fail in the most dismal way when it heads down under.
You won’t see any of this addressed by the super compliant English press. None of them will risk access to RFL events by bringing up the obvious flaws in the England set up. I have no doubt many English journo’s will try to sell you on this training squad as being a great thing for the game. They will say it is a great preparation for the Four Nations at the end of the year.
When you start hearing these PR lines being spat out, just take a look at the State Of Origin series. Look what Australia’s elite players are going through. Then remember that the State Of Origin series will have little to no impact on the Four Nations squad that Australia chooses at the end of the year.
If State Of Origin can have such little impact on a Four Nations squad, what is a meet up at Loughborough University on the 15th of June going to do for England’s hopes?