Hughes set for GB debut – Hardaker moves to the wing

Jack Hughes is set to make his Great Britain debut on Saturday when the Lions take on New Zealand in the second Test in Christchurch.

The Warrington Wolves backrower is expected to fill in at centre with Zak Hardaker being switched to the wing following the injury to Ryan Hall in last weekend’s 12-8 defeat in Auckland.

The 27-year-old is no stranger to playing in the centres and he insists he won’t be phased by the pressure of playing out of position.

He told the rugby-league.com: “It’s always about team first. Obviously, a couple of injuries have tested the depth of the squad and Wayne’s asked me to jump in at centre and do a job and do it justice.

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“It doesn’t phase me. Back in my Wigan days I played there. You’re under a bit more stress and a bit more pressure in terms of decision making, but it’s nothing I can’t handle.”

Great Britain have had good news on the injury front, as prop Luke Thompson has been included in Wayne Bennett’s 21-man squad for Saturday’s Test in Christchurch, after returning to training on Tuesday after suffering a rib injury against Tonga.

The Lions management have opted not to bring any replacement players in to the squad following injuries to Hall and Oliver Gildart. Head Coach Wayne Bennett said, “We have every faith in the ability of the players within our squad to get the job done. It is disappointing for Ryan and Oliver that they have had to leave the tour through injury.”

 

The 21-man squad in full:

1. Jonny Lomax

2. Jermaine McGillvary

3. Jack Hughes

4. Jake Connor

5. Zak Hardaker

6. Gareth Widdop

7. Jackson Hastings

8. Chris Hill

9. Josh Hodgson

10. Tom Burgess

11. John Bateman

12. Elliott Whitehead

13. James Graham (c)

14. Josh Jones

15. Joe Philbin

16. Daryl Clark

17. Alex Walmsley

18. Blake Austin

19. George Williams

20. Luke Thompson

21. Lachlan Coote