As with their opening match against Australia, England have made a late addition to their seventeen for Saturday’s RLWC match against Lebanon with George Williams confirmed to play some part in the game – but nobody has been announced as dropping out as was the case for Alex Walmsley last weekend.
Perhaps it could well be for Castleford Tigers’ Luke Gale because, barring the Super League semi final against St Helens, he seems to have lost the mojo he had throughout most of 2017 which saw him earn the Man of Steel award. Having missed part of the latter end of the season due to an operation to remove his appendix, the scrum half put in a match winning performance against the Saints but, in the Grand Final, was greatly ineffective. This patchy form seemed to continue against Australia where England only threatened with consistency once Josh Hodgson went into the halves. So, while Gale is clearly one of Wayne Bennett’s favoured half backs, perhaps a rest against a team who should be beaten regardless of his inclusion would see him return for the final group game against France in good condition. With Wigan’s Williams being a number 6 by trade, it would also remove the awkwardness of having two scrum halves in the XIII as was the case with Gale and Gareth Widdop, the NRL’s half back of the year, allowing more understanding and confidence in the organisational department for England.
This, of course, is merely speculation as no drop out has been announced as of yet but, in my opinion, Gale is the most likely to be rested for the match against the team who humbled France in their opening game and, while the match is by no means a ‘gimme’, an England team featuring George Williams should definitely have more than enough to beat The Cedars.