Gale & Minikin withdraw from England squads

Posted: Tuesday 9th October 2018 - 10:29 AM

Oliver Gildart has been called into the Elite England squad for this autumn’s Internationals against France and New Zealand.

The 22-year-old Wigan Warriors centre, who was Super League’s Young Player of the Year in 2017 and has played an important role in the Warriors’ progress to Saturday’s Betfred Super League Grand Final, fills the place vacated by the withdrawal of Sam Burgess due to injury.

Gildart had been due to travel to Papua New Guinea via Brisbane next week with the England Knights Squad who will play two Internationals against the Kumuls. His place in the Knights squad has been taken by Niall Evalds, the 25-year-old Salford full-back – and Paul Anderson, the Knights coach, has also called up Tom Lineham, the Warrington wing who scored two tries in last week’s dramatic Semi-Final win against St Helens, as a replacement for Castleford’s Greg Minikin, who has withdrawn due to injury.

Speaking today Castleford Tigers and England Head Physio Matt Crowther said: “Greg Minikin’s decision not to tour with the Knights was difficult but is based on a few issues. Greg suffered ankle and knee injuries which both required surgery during the 2018 season. He did unbelievably well to get back in contention towards the end of the season but unfortunately picked up a calf injury the day before our Semi-Final last week. Greg had a limited pre-season last year while recovering from shoulder surgery and we all agree that this should be his best pre-season leading into the 2019 season and it’s the best decision for his future career.”

Minikin’s Tigers team-mate Luke Gale has also been forced to withdraw from the Elite England squad with a knee injury. A replacement for Gale will be named early next week – before the one-off Test against France at Leigh Sports Village on Wednesday.

Matt Crowther said: “Luke unfortunately has some cartilage damage from the trauma suffered to his Patella during the Wakefield game which kept him out for months. Due to the extent of the injury he needs surgery this week which will be beneficial for player, club and country long term.”

Earlier today Luke Gale said: "Obviously I am gutted to have to withdraw from the England squad for the coming international games, I am so proud to represent my country but right now I need to do what's best to get my knee right and give me a good pre-season to ensure I can give my club my best in 2019." 

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