McIlorum gets England call to face Exiles

Date published: Tuesday, June 7, 2011

England have called up Wigan Warriors hooker Michael McIlorum into their squad for Friday’s CarPlan International Origin Match against the Exiles at Headingley Carnegie Stadium (8.00).
The 23-year-old replaces St Helens hooker James Roby, who withdrew from the squad after suffering a fractured eye socket in his side’s Engage Super League victory over Leeds Rhinos last Friday.
McIlorum, who has been enjoying the best form of his career, joined the England camp at Loughborough University earlier today and took part in his first training session in the afternoon as Steve McNamara’s squad stepped up their preparations for the mouthwatering clash with opponents comprised of the best Australian and New Zealand players in Super League.
“Michael is just the sort of person you need for a match against the Exiles: he’s tough, tenacious and someone who will never take a backward step,” said McNamara.
“Whilst we’re sorry to have lost James, I have no doubts that Michael is a valuable addition to the squad and I’m looking forward to working with him this week.”
McIlorum learned of England’s call from his club coach Michael Maguire and said he was thrilled to be part of McNamara’s plans for Friday’s match at Headingley Carnegie Stadium which is expected to provide one of the highlights of the summer.
“It was a bit of a surprise but I’m absolutely delighted to have this chance,” said McIlorum, who represented Ireland in the 2008 World Cup under the grandparent ruling.
“I enjoyed playing for Ireland but as a player you want to test yourself against the best players in the world and that’s why I opted for the country of my birth.
“I’m a proud Englishman and it will be one of the proudest days of my life if I get the nod on Friday night.”
McNamara has opted not to draft in a replacement for scrum-half Danny Brough, whose hopes of making his England debut on Friday were dashed when he injured ankle ligaments in Huddersfield Giants’ victory over Castleford Tigers on Sunday evening.
With Luke Robinson and Richie Myler already in camp, England are not short of international-standard half-backs.
McNamara will trim his 21-man squad to 18 on Wednesday morning, when three players will be allowed to return to their clubs to prepare for Sunday’s Super League Round 17 fixtures.
Pre-purchased tickets for the CarPlan International Origin Match start from £19 for adults and £12 concessions and are available at www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.ukor by contacting the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 856 1113. Tickets purchased on the day of the match start from £22 for adults and £15 for concessions.