England head coach Steve McNamara paid tribute to Luke Robinson and Stuart Fielden after they agreed to make personal sacrifices for their country.
Uncapped Huddersfield scrum-half Robinson opted to postpone his wedding in Cyprus after being called into McNamara’s 24-man squad for the Four Nations trip to New Zealand and Australia.
“They are both making decisions in terms of their overall lives and I couldn’t be more pleased,” McNamara said. “I’ve been delighted by their form.
“Stuart has got a huge desire to get back into the England set-up and perform well. He is going to be leaving his first child a day or two after the birth and so it’s a huge commitment but he never flinched.
“The door was never shut if he applied himself and did the right things. He’s had some dark days but his form has been very consistent throughout this season.
“He has certainly got some points to prove but his enthusiasm and desire to play for England is the thing that really stands out.”
Robinson, one of seven uncapped players in the squad, who will also miss his stag party to be with England, never gave up hope of making the Four Nations squad and did not hesitate to put off his wedding plans.
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“I feel I’ve played consistently all year and it was at the back of my mind that I might get picked,” he said.
“My mother-in-law kept saying to me your wedding is going ahead at the same time as the trip but me and my partner said we’d cross that bridge when we come to it.
Robinson is one of six players from Huddersfield, who have the biggest representation in a squad which will be led by Warrington prop Adrian Morley.
“It’s a great achievement for the club and shows the way the club has been going over the past two seasons,” he said.
Robinson will be joined on Friday’s flight by half-back partner Kevin Brown, uncapped duo Shaun Lunt and Leroy Cudjoe and front-row forwards Darrell Griffin and Eorl Crabtree.
Huddersfield chairman Ken Davy said: “It is a fantastic day for us without doubt. We often talk about the year-on-year progression that the Giants are making and this is absolutely concrete evidence of that fact.
The club representation in McNamara’s squad makes fascinating comparison with the 2008 World Cup touring party. Leeds and St Helens had 15 players on that trip but this time can boast just three.
Leeds’ only selection is winger Ryan Hall after captain Kevin Sinfield was ruled out with an Achilles tendon injury that requires surgery, joining Jamie Peacock and Danny McGuire on the sidelines.
Among the notable players omitted from the train-on squad were Hull KR winger Peter Fox and Warrington scrum-half Richie Myler, who failed to press their claims in Sunday’s 18-18 draw with Cumbria in Whitehaven.
Morley, who has twice stepped in as captain in Peacock’s absence, said: “It feels absolutely incredible.I’ve been lucky to captain Great Britain and England in one-off games but to lead a touring side is fantastic. It will be the highlight of my career without a doubt.”
“I’m excited about the blend and mix we’ve got available,” said McNamara. “I can’t wait for the tournament to start. We’ve going across to have one of the best five weeks of our lives and hopefully come back successful.”
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