Shaun Wane backs Morgan Knowles for big future as forward commits to England

St Helens forward Morgan Knowles has changed his international allegiance from Wales to England.

The Cumbria-born 23-year-old is now set to become part of England’s plans for the 2021 World Cup, new coach Shaun Wane has revealed.

Knowles, a Grand Final-winning second row or loose forward, represented Wales in the 2017 tournament but switched over after discussions with Wane.

New England coach Shaun Wane says he
New England coach Shaun Wane says he

Wane said: “I chased him. He’s a big player I admire, a big effort player, which is perfect for me and I can see him playing in a Test match. I’ve already spoken to him and I like him.

“Lockers (Sean O’Loughlin) is not going to last forever and he sees himself jumping in there, which I can see myself.

“He’s got a bit of skill and a bit of speed and he can do a job anywhere for you.”

Knowles, who first represented Wales at Under-16 level, has ambitions to play for England
Knowles, who first represented Wales at Under-16 level, has ambitions to play for England

Knowles hails from Barrow but was eligible for Wales through his mother and represented the country from under-16 level.

Knowles said: “I feel very honoured to have played for Wales and represented my Welsh family and heritage and I am hugely grateful for the opportunities and experiences this has brought my way.

“But first and foremost I’m a really proud Cumbrian. I was born in Barrow and I’m English and I want to play for my country.

“Hopefully if I work hard, I will be able to do that and I am excited about what the future may hold.”

Wane has also confirmed Brisbane Broncos’ Lancashire-born youngster Herbie Farnworth is in his thinking.

The 20-year-old centre, who moved to Australia after leaving school, has impressed in the NRL since breaking into the Broncos’ first team last season.

“Herbie is young and will have time to develop into one of the leading candidates for World Cup selection,” said Wane on a media call.

“I wouldn’t say he’s stood out but he’s doing a few good things which I like to see. He’s warranted his selection in the top squad.

“I’d need to see more from him but the glimpses I’ve seen are very encouraging. His size and athleticism are very impressive and I can see him pushing very hard for a centre spot next year.”

Wane, who succeeded Wayne Bennett earlier this year, is yet to take charge of a game and his plans for this autumn were dashed when the Ashes series was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He is now anxious to arrange some meaningful fixtures to aid his World Cup preparations. Full Tests against Australia and New Zealand in mid-season next year are unlikely, but he would favour reviving the Exiles concept, whereby England would face a team of international stars playing in Super League.

Wane said: “We’re behind the eight-ball not having an Ashes series. The more two-day camps I can have in pre-season the better, but the Exiles game is a massive one.

“It has become more serious with me since the Ashes were called off. I need to coach, I need some stress at weekends.”