MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 19: John Bateman of England runs with the ball during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup Quarter Final match between England and Papua New Guinea Kumuls at AAMI Park on November 19, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Former Raider John Bateman is set to join forces with his former coach Shaun Wane when England take on France in Perpignan next weekend.

The news of the reunion was made official on Monday when Wane announced that the 28-year-old had been selected in England's below strength squad for the one-off test.

Wane and Bateman had previously worked together whilst at Wigan between 2014 and 2018 before the link was severed when the latter begun his stint with Canberra.

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 27: John Bateman of the Raiders celebrates at full time following the NRL Preliminary Final match between the Canberra Raiders and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at GIO Stadium on September 27, 2019 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Though multiple key names have made Wane's squad for the test match to be held on enemy territory, the fact that several Super League stars remain injured has forced the 57-year-old to fill starting slots with secondary names.

Covid restrictions on international travel have also hampered England, as they will be without any players that currently ply their trade within the NRL.

Given these pair of hindrances, notable options such as George Williams, Sam Tomkins, Tom Burgess, Elliott Whitehead, and Josh Hodgson were not available for selection.

WIGAN, ENGLAND - JANUARY 15: Sam Tomkins of Wigan Warriors poses for a portrait during the Wigan Warriors Media Day at Haigh Hall Hotel on January 15, 2018 in Wigan, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

While Wane has drawn talent from right across the northern hemisphere's premier competition, the inclusion of Liam Farrell, Zak Hardaker, and Bateman has given his collective a distinctly Wigan-based flavour.

Despite impediments towards playing his strongest possible side, Wane claimed that each of the 20-names that had been selected had thoroughly deserved their opportunity.

"Things are always going to be fluid up to a point with form and injuries, but I’m more than happy that we have the players to get the job done,” the head coach was quoted by NRL.com.

"Every player is in on merit and they know what's expected of them. Each one is a credit to their club, they have adapted themselves well at training and bring a very positive mindset."

Embed from Getty Images

As the test will take place on the home ground of recent Super League runners-up Catalans and many members of Dragons' roster are set to run out for the France, Wane claimed the contest wouldn't be a walk in the park for the side clad in St George's cross.

"There’s no doubt it's going to be tough. Catalans Dragons players dominate the French squad and their fans are fanatical," Wane continued.

"We’ll work hard in training this week and we’ll be raring to go come game day. The players are ready to do England proud.”

French coach Laurent Frayssinous' hands have also been tied in terms of selection, with Les Chanticleers unable to select their skipper, Théo Fages.

Embed from Getty Images

While the World Cup was unfortunately postponed due to Covid complications, Frayssinous explained that the delay had afforded him a chance to further form his squad ahead of the tournament that will now kick-off in just under a year's time.

“This group combines experience and youth, with 10 players in this group, who are likely to celebrate their first selection in blue," he said.

"This Test match against England is the start of our new planning for the 2022 World Cup and I am confident that we can give the English a challenge.”

Kick-off for the latest meeting between these historical rivals is scheduled for 12:30am AEST on Sunday, October 24.

Full Squads as per NRL.com.

England

Jordan Abdull, Ben Currie, Tom Davies, Niall Evalds, John Bateman, Mike Cooper, Liam Farrell, Zak Hardaker, Morgan Knowles, Kruise Leeming, Matty Lees, Jonny Lomax, Reece Lyne, Paul McShane, Tommy Makinson, Harry Newman, Mikolaj Oledzki, Joe Philbin, Danny Walker, Alex Walmsley.

France

Ilias Bergal, Tony Gigot, Mathieu Jussaume, Mark Keirallah, Anthony Marion, Romain Navarrete, Eloi Pelissier, Maxime Puech, Justin Sangare (all Toulouse), Mathieu Cozza, Jordan Dezaria, Mickael Goudemand, Benjamin Jullien, Matthieu Laguerre, Corentin Le Cam, Arthur Mourgue, Cesar Rouge, Paul Seguier, Fouad Yaha (all Catalans), Morgan Escare (Salford).

 

Follow Zero Tackle on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more of the latest rugby league news.