Salford Red Devils have set a new club record for World Cup representatives, with TEN players set to compete in the showpiece home tournament this autumn.
Andy Ackers, Marc Sneyd and Kallum Watkins will be donning the England shirt. Sneyd and Ackers will have the honour of making their Three Lions debuts, while Watkins continues to be a consistent figure in the team after his long-term injury.
Ryan Brierley – who has already made seven appearances for the Scottish National Team – has been rewarded for an excellent club season with a call-up to the Scotland squad. As has Sam Luckley, who recently joined Hull KR, but was an important part of Paul Rowley’s side last season.
Record appearance-maker Rhys Williams will continue to set the pace at international level with Wales, as the Dragon continues his regular spot in the Welsh squad.
Morgan Escaré made his France debut in 2013 and has since gone on to make 12 further appearances – scoring seven tries. He will get the opportunity to add to that this November, after making the 24-man squad ahead of their World Cup endeavours.
King Vuniyayawa has been a regular in Rowley’s forward pack this season and his excellent form has earned him a spot in Fiji’s squad.
Finally, Ken Sio and Tim Lafai – two members of the 2022 Dream Team – joined up with the Samoan squad ahead of their second Group Stage game against Greece.
After seeing the club record increase to ten, director of rugby and operations, Ian Blease said: “Seeing Ken and Tim join-up with the Samoan squad is a proud moment for the whole club. Both players were instrumental to our success in 2022 and totally deserve this recognition.
“I’m sure playing on the World Cup stage is something they’ve always dreamt about, so to see them have that opportunity will be a special occasion.
“Taking the Club record up even further to nine has just emphasised how much progress has been made on and off the field last season. It’s an incredible achievement for everyone involved and we wish everyone good luck in the rest of the tournament!”
The previous record – back in 2000 – saw Salford have seven representatives at the World Cup, with Paul Highton, Chris Morley, Kris Tassell, Mark Johnson, Martin Crompton, Paul Southern and Mike Wainwright all earning call-ups to their respective nations.
Salford did have eight players play in the 1975 World Championship Series – which is considered the Rugby League World Cup – however, the format of this tournament differed from the usual format. The matches were played over an eight-month period in five countries, no squads were announced and players were selected on a match-by-match basis.
Earlier this month, reacting to such an outstanding achievement, Head Coach Paul Rowley said: “To have a record number of internationals from our 2022 squad is a fantastic achievement and recognition for the tremendous efforts from the players this year.
“It’s a privilege and honour to be a part of the Salford 2022 team and to see the players rewarded with international recognition. To create a little piece of Salford history is something that the whole working group can be very proud of.”