Wakefield Trinity Wildcats winger Ben Cockayne has been called up to England Rugby League’s 30-man Elite Training Squad as the national team starts its preparations in World Cup year.
Cockayne, 29, has been the standout winger during the early part of the 2013 Super League season scoring six tries in the Wildcats’ opening five league fixtures.
The former Hull KR and Featherstone Rovers back is the only new inclusion, with England Coach Steve McNamara keeping faith with the majority of players that led England to tournament victory last autumn against France and Wales.
The squad will meet up at RAF Cranwell, Lincolnshire over the weekend of March 16 and there will be a further four camps throughout this year including high altitude training in Potchefstroom, South Africa at the end of the domestic season.
“We have been impressed with Ben’s (Cockayne) all-round form in Super League over a sustained period of time and he deserves his call up to the ETS,” said McNamara, who has been tracking Cockayne’s progress over the past 18 months.
“The coaches and established players look forward to welcoming him into the group at our first camp later this month. We hope he can build on his selection and continue his progress as a top class Rugby League player.”
“It is an honour to be selected,” said Cockayne, on becoming the first ever Wakefield player to be selected in the ETS squad since it was established two years ago.
“This is hopefully the first step to possibly playing for my country. To be recognised amongst the elite of English Rugby League is my biggest honour to date and I can’t wait to meet up with the rest of the England boys in the next couple of weeks.”
Super League reigning champions Leeds Rhinos have the most players in the squad with eight representatives, Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves both have six and there are a further six clubs represented from the Super League across the squad.
“The players are fully aware of the importance of this year,” added McNamara. “Every opportunity we have together will be vital in honing our preparations to make a real impact on the Rugby League World Cup in the autumn.
“We have every confidence in the group, along with our Australian based players, to be competitive against the best teams in the world. We are leaving nothing to chance and our training programme will add variety and the attention to detail our elite players deserve.”
Furthermore, McNamara has invited Bradford Bulls John Bateman, Rhinos Stevie Ward and Warrington’s Ben Currie to the first camp giving the former England Academy trio the opportunity to experiencing training at the elite level.
“The main focus naturally will be about the Rugby League World Cup, but we have a responsibility to ensure the future stars of the game are prepared and ready for international tournaments after 2013 and the World Cup in 2017,” McNamara said.
“That’s the reason why Ben (Currie), John (Bateman) and Stevie (Ward) have been invited to the first camp. They are part of England’s future and opportunities like this will benefit the lads in their Rugby League development.”
England will start their 2013 campaign with the International Origin match against the Exiles on Friday June 14 at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington and will take on France in a warm-up game before the Rugby League World Cup gets underway on Saturday October 26, when England take on Australia at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff.
Tickets for the International Origin game against the Exiles can be purchased at with a £5 discount, meaning £20 tickets can be purchased by £15, until Tuesday March 12 by calling the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 856 1113 or visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk and quoting the discount code ENG01
2013 England Elite Training Squad
(Professional club and community club listed):
|Carl Ablett||Leeds Rhinos, Hunslet Parkside|
|Tom Briscoe||Hull FC, Featherstone Lions|
|Rob Burrow||Leeds Rhinos, Featherstone Lions|
|Garreth Carvell||Warrington Wolves, Stanningley|
|Josh Charnley||Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks|
|Rangi Chase||Castleford Tigers, Dannevirke Tigers|
|Ben Cockayne||Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, Normanton Knights|
|Eorl Crabtree||Huddersfield Giants, Huddersfield YMCA|
|Leroy Cudjoe||Huddersfield Giants, Newsome Panthers|
|Gareth Ellis||Hull FC, Lock Lane|
|Liam Farrell||Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Pats|
|Ryan Hall||Leeds Rhinos, Oulton Raiders|
|Zak Hardaker||Leeds Rhinos, Featherstone Lions|
|Gareth Hock||Widnes Vikings, Wigan St Judes|
|Chris Hill||Warrington Wolves, New Springs Lions|
|Jamie Jones-Buchanan||Leeds Rhinos, Stanningley|
|Danny McGuire||Leeds Rhinos, East Leeds|
|Michael McIlorum||Wigan Warriors, Queens|
|Adrian Morley||Warrington Wolves, Eccles|
|Lee Mossop||Wigan Warriors, Hensingham|
|Richie Myler||Warrington Wolves, Halton West Bank|
|Sean O’Loughlin||Wigan Warriors, Wigan St Patricks|
|Stefan Ratchford||Warrington Wolves, Wigan St Patricks|
|James Roby||St Helens, Blackbrook|
|Kevin Sinfield||Leeds Rhinos, Waterhead|
|Danny Tickle||Hull FC, Golborne Parkside|
|Sam Tomkins||Wigan Warriors. Wigan St Patricks|
|Kallum Watkins||Leeds Rhinos, Latchford Albion|
|Ben Westwood||Warrington Wolves, Normanton|
|Jon Wilkin||St Helens, East Hull|