MX23RW : Friday, January 18 10:41:42

England’s Jonny Lomax hoping to repay Wayne Bennett’s faith in full-back role

The St Helens utility back has been named as Bennett’s first choice full-back ahead of this weekend’s first test in Hull.

Jonny Lomax is pleased England coach Wayne Bennett trusts him to do a job at full-back for the forthcoming Test series against New Zealand.

The St Helens utility back, who played at stand-off against the Kiwis in June, has been named as Bennett’s first choice full-back ahead of this weekend’s first test in Hull.

Lomax will play ahead of Sam Tomkins, who has been recalled to Bennett’s 19-man squad for the first time in four years, with Warrington’s Stefan Ratchford missing out on the group.

Lomax said: “It was a funny position for me at the beginning of the year, not really knowing where I would be playing this year.

“I have dropped in between stand-off and full-back position at club level so it’s nice that he (Bennett) has kept a bit of faith in me where I have played in the past for him.

“Being able to rotate between the two positions gives you an appreciation of the lads at full-back and half-back to understand the kind of lines they need to run.”

Bennett has selected 11 of the 17 players that last played against the Kiwis in Denver in June, with Tom Johnstone also missing out.

Reece Lyne does not make the squad this time around, with Adam Milner and Joe Greenwood also not involved.

Oliver Gildart could make his debut after he was unavailable against France last month as he was taking part in the Grand Final.

Bennett’s men take on the Kiwis in a three-match series beginning at the KCOM Stadium in Hull on Saturday, with further games at Liverpool’s Anfield and Elland Road in Leeds.

Lomax knows England will be tested against the Kiwis, who beat world champions Australia earlier this month.

“It’s been going pretty well, we looked pretty sharp today,” Lomax said of his side’s preparations.

“A few combinations to try and improve on but we have got another session to do that and we’re looking forward to it.

“They looked fantastic in that performance (against Australia) and we’ll have to raise to that and that is something we’ll aim to do.

“They’ve got threats all over the field and we have to be switched on to that throughout.”


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