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Page last updated at 10:11 GMT, Thursday, 22 July 2010 11:11 UK

Tongan prop Willie Manu changes allegiance to England

Hull FC's Willie Manu
Manu has been in superb form for Hull lately

Tongan international Willie Manu can play for England in the autumn's Four Nations after changing allegiance, the Rugby Football League has confirmed.

The 30-year-old Hull second row has been named in England coach Steve McNamara's initial training party.

"He qualifies on residency and has made himself available," said a spokesman.

Maurie Fa'asavalu played for Great Britain in 2007 after previously playing rugby union for Samoa, but has now switched codes back to rugby union.

Manu came to England in 2006 to play for Castleford, moving to Hull a year later, and recently signed a new two-year deal after producing the best form of his career, earning him a place at McNamara's 37-strong gathering.

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Hull coach Richard Agar admitted the issue was "a hot potato," but said he backed the player's involvement with England.

"If Steve picks him, he'll open himself up for some criticism, but if he picks him and England win the Four Nations, he'll be judged as a hero," he said.

"Most other sports do it - a lot of players Australia pick have been born and bred in New Zealand - and Willie by rights qualifies for England on residency grounds, as he would in cricket or rugby union.

"He's a long way off selection but, if he wants to represent England and Steve is prepared to pick him, I think we should support him.

McNamara described the squad gathering as "a very positive experience for everyone involved," but said it was still far too early for people to start trying to guess who would be in the slimmed-down squad.

"All the players involved are potential candidates for selection for this year's Four Nations but that's not to say the final squad will come from this group," he said.

"It's certainly not a definitive list. The door remains wide open for anyone to play themselves into contention for selection over the next couple of months."

Another surprise inclusion is 21-year-old Leeds full-back Ben Jones-Bishop, who is currently on loan at Harlequins.

McNamara will assess the 37 players at a get together this week before naming a squad of 23 or 24-man squad for the end-of-season trip to Australia and New Zealand.

The 37 includes the 17 members of the England elite training squad which McNamara is in the process of revising.


England training squad: Chris Bridge (Warrington), Tom Briscoe (Hull), Kyle Eastmond (St Helens), James Graham (St Helens), Ryan Hall (Leeds), Sean O'Loughlin (Wigan), Danny McGuire (Leeds), Adrian Morley (Warrington), Jamie Peacock (Leeds), James Roby (St Helens), Nick Scruton (Bradford), Michael Shenton (Castleford), Kevin Sinfield (Leeds), Sam Tomkins (Wigan), Ben Westwood (Warrington), Shaun Lunt (Huddersfield), Kevin Brown (Huddersfield), Richie Myler (Warrington), Ryan Atkins (Warrington), Jodie Broughton (Salford), Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield), Peter Fox (Hull KR), Lee Smith (Leeds), Gareth Carvell (Warrington), Ben Harrison (Warrington), Jamie Langley (Bradford), Tony Clubb (Harlequins), Ben Jones-Bishop (Harlequins), Andy Lynch (Bradford), Joe Westerman (Castleford), Kirk Yeaman (Hull), Louie McCarthy Scarsbrook (Harlequins), Eorl Crabtree (Huddersfield), Scott Moore (St Helens), Paul Sykes (Bradford), Jon Wilkin (St Helens), Willie Manu (Hull).



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see also
Bradford release coach McNamara
13 Jul 10 |  Rugby League
Manu signs new deal with Hull FC
12 May 10 |  Hull
McNamara lands England coach post
21 Apr 10 |  Rugby League
Wilkin backs Fa'asavalu selection
23 Oct 07 |  Rugby League


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